The AFT’s Randi Weingarten attacks Medicare for All.

Randi Weingarten, Michael Bloomberg

The president of the American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten has decided to go against her own union’s official position and join her centrist Democratic allies in opposing national health care, also known as Medicare for All.

In 2018, the AFT approved a resolution in support of defending and expanding the Affordable Care Act, then under attack by the Republicans.

In addition, the AFT called for moving towards a single payer, national health care system modeled after Medicare.

RESOLVED, that the AFT reaffirms that the most sensible and cost-effective solution for health coverage is a single-payer system modeled after the federal Medicare system, such as that proposed by S.B. 1804 and H.R. 676; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will educate and mobilize its members and our broader community to support universal healthcare coverage.

On Monday, Weingarten wrote a commentary for Politico defending work-based health insurance and  therefore opposing Medicare for All, calling them “false choices.”

Like many other labor leaders, I have sat across a bargaining table and negotiated many benefits packages for educators, nurses and public employees, so I know what is and isn’t true. Some working people have good health care plans through their jobs, many don’t. If we reduce this debate to a zero-sum trade-off between protecting people who like their insurance vs. expanding insurance to those who might want or need a public plan, we have handed a win directly to the corporate insurance giants before we even start.

Obamacare has shown that a private and public health care system cannot co-exist. The for-profit insurance system will always work to undermine the public one.

Weingarten is right about one thing.

She is joining other labor leaders in opposing Medicare for All.

Why are these union leaders distancing themselves from the views of their members and, in Weingarten’s case, the official position of  their own union?

Loyalty.

Loyalty to the conservative wing of the Democratic Party and loyalty to beating the progressives and the Left like AOC, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Joe Biden on Medicare for All:

“One of the debates I have with two of my colleagues I greatly respect, both really fine people, is Medicare-for-all. Well, that’s a great idea. But guess what, it costs, minimum, $3.4 trillion per year. That’s twice the entire national budget, except for interest on the debt. Now tell me, especially in a recession, we’re going to raise your taxes, a middle-income person, as Bernie acknowledges — he’s honest about it — 5 percent and 4 percent in terms of your deductible, as well as 4 or 5 percent on your income tax. I don’t think you can sustain that.”

— Former vice president Joe Biden, in remarks at a town hall in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Sept. 20, 2019

His staff had to correct Biden on his bungled statistics.

But gaffes are nothing new for Joe Biden on the campaign trail.

The issue is not the gaffes, but the policy he advocates.

Weingarten is clearly doing Biden’s work in opposing Medicare for All, in opposing her union’s own position as well as the needs of her members.

12 thoughts on “The AFT’s Randi Weingarten attacks Medicare for All.

  1. Wow. Our NEA affiliates in KY have been crap for decades, always run by the same people, with their foot on the neck of the elections – but now AFT? Randi Weingarten has passed her expiration date. Time to toss her out for a younger generation. Her stance on Medicare for All is early senility.

  2. If Denmark, Sweden, and Canada can function under single payer health care, we should be sending research teams to these countries to study and learn from their success. I have family and friends who live in Canada who have no complaints about their system. They know they are paying additional taxes for this system to operate, but the benefits outweigh any negatives, in their opinion.

    Most of the nay-sayers for this plan seem to have the same battle cry, “Whose gonna pay for all this stuff?” whenever it comes to Medicare for all, or single payer health care. However, those same nay-sayers never ask whose gonna pay for all of the endless wars that we seem to have been involved with for as long as I can remember. The Pentagon practically has an unlimited budget. And it’s all paid for by the US tax payers. The nay-sayer’s mindset on this seems to be that we need these wars to protect and preserve our democracy. They don’t realize that we now have an oligarchy. Democracy is gone. It’s floating down the (polluted) river somewhere.

    Sometimes I think the polluting of our air and water, the heavy use of GMO’s in our foods, the overuse of – and biased research of vaccinations, corruption in the AMA, Big-Pharma’s hustle, the inadequate treatment of our public school system, the abundance of corporate money-grabbing politicians, etc are all starting to work in favor of the oligarchs. The American people are starting to fall more in line each day with corporate intentions.

    My gut feeling tells me that people like Randi Weingarten and Tom Perez are in bed with the big insurance companies.

  3. Time for both Weingarten and Biden to step aside.

    Health care is a human right…one that is either recognized or denied…Bernie Sanders recognizes that fact.

    The ability to recognize the truth is not limited by age…it’s limited by hearts too small…and greedy.

  4. Weingarten manages to position herself on the wrong side of most issues. Providing health care for all is not a radical notion. People should not have to make choices between food and medicine.

  5. How can capital allow the health care cow to die when she consumes about 16% of GDP and rewards investors handsomely?
    Their lackeys in both parties have to do their job,

  6. JACEK…I agree with everything you wrote…especially this…”My gut feeling tells me that people like Randi Weingarten and Tom Perez are in bed with the big insurance companies.”

    Trust your gut…always…is the best advice I’ve ever received.

  7. Well, Randi has her nice, private (paid for by–ahem–AFT members) probably platinum health benefits, so why should she have to give that up?
    Wait, watch–AFT will end up endorsing…Joe!

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