Democratic White House candidates must ensure their Medicare for All suggestions honors union-negotiated non-public insurance, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, head of the most crucial organization of U.S. labor unions, said on Thursday.
How to best extend health protection to thousands of uninsured or under-insured Americans has been one of the initial challenges defining the Democratic nominating contest to defeat Republican President Donald Trump in November 2020.
The issue is more and more cropping up on the election campaign trail as the 20 candidates nonetheless competing to become the Democratic candidate compete for support from unionized workers and official endorsements that can result in critical on-the-ground resources.
Liberal U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have chosen a Medicare for All approach that may extend the existing, government-run Medicare health insurance program to all Americans, mainly reducing a role for private insurance. Medicare at present, serves Americans aged 65 and older.
Candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Senator Michael Bennet favor following a more incremental strategy that would create a so-called “public option” permitting people to enroll in a authorities healthcare plan that would exist alongside private insurance.
Others, comprising U.S. Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, have changed their healthcare bids, after backing Sanders’ Medicare for All bill in the Senate, to protect some role for private insurance, even if for a restricted time.
Candidates have invoked union-negotiated medical insurance as one reason why a public option is preferable to the Medicare for All bids offered by their rivals.
Most national affiliations, along with the AFL-CIO, which is a federation of over 50 unions that collectively signify more significant than 12 million employees, have yet to support a candidate.