A union gives up on employment-based health care?

A union gives up on employment-based health care?

I was a little surprised to read the op-ed piece “Horse-and-Buggy Health Coverage” in today’s Wall St. Journal by Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union:

The employer-based system of health coverage is over. This may sound shocking, coming from a union leader whose members bargain constantly with employers for health-care benefits. But the system is collapsing, crushed by out-of-control costs, a revolutionary global economy and masses of uninsured.

Yes it does “sound shocking.” At the end of the piece we read that the union is the biggest health care union in the country (I knew it sounded familiar), and that goes a long way to explaining the opening statement. Because what Stern calls for is a broadening of the funding base for health care so that employers, employees and government are full partners. That means increasing the amount of funding available and maintaining the growth in demand for his union’s members. Not exactly a formula for radical reform.

July 17, 2006

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