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August 2017

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GOP Health Fiasco

The labor movement was built on a few simple guiding principles.

Working people fare best when they join together. An honest day's work deserves a fair wage that allows a person to provide for his or her family. And people should be able to retire comfortably when the time comes, and have the coverage required to stay healthy and deal with life's unexpected illnesses without ending up in the poor house.

That's why it's so outrageous to me that Republicans in Congress have spent much of the summer working to take health care away from honest, working Americans.

First, Paul Ryan and the House passed a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a system that would mean 23 million fewer people have coverage in 10 years' time. The bill would massively increase premiums on people in their 50s and 60s and endanger the Medicare system, all to fund a $700 billion tax cut for the richest Americans.

The Senate bill, which was supposed to be an improvement, turned out to be just as bad for working people. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office predicted that bill would cut 22 million Americans from the health care rolls and give millionaires and billionaires an even bigger tax cut — almost $1 trillion over the next decade. Neither bill does anything to repeal the disastrous Cadillac tax on hard-fought benefits.

Make no mistake. The Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act has little to do with your health. It's about a gigantic giveaway to insurance companies, corporations and rich people, and they'll leave our working poor, our seniors and anyone with pre-existing medical conditions out in the cold.

In 2010, Democrats banned lifetime limits on insurance payouts — limits that meant a child born with serious medical conditions could exhaust his or her lifetime insurance expenses before they could even walk. The Republican plans bring those limits back.

If you're counting on Medicare to help with health care in retirement, good luck under the GOP plan. Experts predict the Medicare trust fund will get weaker, not stronger, if Republicans get their way.

Want to start a business of your own or retire early? If you're over 50, your premiums are going to skyrocket by thousands of dollars, costing as much as five times more than those for younger people.

Ordinary Americans can't afford the Republican health care plan. We won't stand by while politicians line the pockets of millionaires and billionaires at the expense of working people. Health care is too important.

I urge you to call your members of Congress and tell them to protect the Affordable Care Act, fixing it where it needs to be fixed, but leaving in place the protections for working-class Americans. Find your representatives at


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Kenneth W. Cooper

Kenneth W. Cooper
International Secretary-Treasurer