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