Weingarten’s health care “choice” has echoes of Janus.

Randi Weingarten, Michael Bloomberg

A major issue that divides the Democratic Party candidates running for president is Medicare for All.

The Democratic Party establishment candidates like Biden, Klobuchar and their current front runner, Pete Buttigieg, have come out strongly against Medicare for All.

Buttigieg argues in favor of an awkwardly named program he calls Medicare for All Who Want It.

This plan would leave the current private employer-based health care system in place and create another two-tier system. One for the wealthy and one for the poor.

Bernie Sanders, the leading Left candidate, and Elizabeth Warren advocate for national health insurance, a single-payer system that would take the private for-profit health insurance industry out of all of our lives.

I criticized American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten – and other union leaders – for being outspoken in defense of employer-based health insurance.

Weingarten responded.

I have not opined on what Pete said, Fred.

I do agree with Culinary…

And by the way, why are you not listening to so many of our members that want to drive down costs, that want to take on big pharma and the insurance companies, but they want to have the choice on their insurance.

What I find most troubling about Randi Weingarten’s response (the personal stuff about me not listening is just silly and typical of union leadership whenever their positions are challenged) is that she frames the issue with the language of choice.

I was startled to hear a public employee union leader frame this debate using the language of the enemies of collective bargaining rights and collective action.

This was the language used by Mark Janus and his corporate funders when they framed their case before the United States Supreme Court.

“The government gave AFSCME the power to collect money from almost every employee of state government, even if we didn’t support the unions’ politics and policies. I had no choice, and no voice in the matter,” said Janus and his lawyers.

Weingarten and other union leaders frame the question in the same way that Mark Janus did.

As much as the policy question, this argument framed as choice is what most disappoints me.

It echoes the arguments about school choice.

This is not an issue of choice about insurance anymore than it is an issue of choice about whether a worker is part of a collective bargaining unit and pays their fair share.

The whole point of a union is that we struggle collectively for the common good and for what is best for the least of us and for what is best for most of us.

Otherwise we are left to struggle on our own.

That can’t be the choice.



6 thoughts on “Weingarten’s health care “choice” has echoes of Janus.

  1. One must also wonder how much corruption, in the form of money and influence from insurance companies, brokers, and their captured political and union leaders, is involved.

  2. “Not every union member has union healthcare plans that protect them. Those that do have it, have to fight like hell to keep it.” – Sara Nelson, President of the Association of Flight Attendants
    This was her response to Pete Buttigieg’s plan to have his multi-tier divisive healthcare program that
    hypocritically claims “choice.”

  3. Why would our teacher’s union be against something that would help the lives of many of our students? Help the families of our students? Help our communities?
    Many of our contract demands and “hard fought” wins we say are for our students. So why shouldn’t Medicare for All be one of those wins for our students???

  4. Admin costs for U.S. greedcare is 5X greater than Canadian admin costs for health care. School districts, like other employers around the nation, are being charged $24K a year in premiums for family coverage.

    You would think that anti-tax zealots would love MFA just for the savings alone. . SMDH

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