Speech | Health Care

Trumka Addresses Senate Health Care Bill Developments

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka delivered the following remarks on a press call regarding the Senate health care bill:

Thank you for joining me on this call.

Today, working people are relieved that legislation designed to destroy our health care does not have the votes to pass. But we will not for a single second rest on our laurels. This fight is just beginning.

We have no illusions. Senator Mitch McConnell has a PHD in Washington backroom deals. He will exhaust every trick in the book, every slight-of-hand and every shady deal to get this bill signed into law. We will not relent until it is dead and gone.

Make no mistake, this bill isn’t a health care plan at all. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from workers to Wall Street. It obliterates Medicaid. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, it would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 22 million. And it cuts taxes for millionaires while raising taxes on hard-working men and women who have negotiated high-quality health care.

This bill is a sham—and it’s a shame. So working families are fighting back. We are fighting for our children, our parents and our communities. No amount of tweaks or window dressing can change the fact that this is a vicious assault on America’s health care security. It is time for Congress to abandon this reckless plan and come together on a bipartisan basis to improve the Affordable Care Act. That’s what voters want.

Working people brought this bill to a screeching halt. We mobilized in record time, and we won’t stand down. We’re running ads. We’re flooding Senate offices with phone calls. We’re going all out. If the Senate insists on moving forward with this plan, we will continue to make our voices heard.

I appreciate the moderate Republicans who have announced their opposition to the bill as written. I urge Senator Collins, Senator Capito, Senator Portman and Senator Heller to stand strong. And I urge Senator Murkowski to join them. Any bill that causes coverage losses, reduces the quality of care or increases out-of-pocket costs is unacceptable and we’ll continue to hold senators accountable to that standard.

As I have always said, if the House and Senate are willing to get serious about finding ways to make health care more affordable and accessible, we want to be part of the solution. We have ideas about how to get it done. We want to be part of the conversation.

But any discussion about moving forward starts with abandoning this misguided bill.

I would now like to introduce you to a few special guests who will speak from personal experience about the importance of protecting America’s health care.

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