Flawed Health Care Legislation Advances in Senate

The IAM, along with 26 other unions, voiced its opposition to the Senate Finance Committee’s health care bill by sponsoring a full-page ad printed in The Washington Post, USA Today and Capitol Hill newspapers Wednesday.

The ad outlines the labor movement’s bottom line as Congress braces for full debate on the issue: “Unless the bill that goes to the floor of the U.S. Senate makes substantial progress to address the concerns of working men and women, we will oppose it.”
“The Senate Finance Committee bill is deeply flawed,” reads the ad.

The committee, chaired by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), passed its version of health care reform by a 14 to 9 vote Tuesday. While the $829 billion piece of legislation aims to insure millions of Americans currently without insurance, it fails to require that employers provide coverage, places a 40 percent tax on middle class benefits and lacks a public option.

“The Senate Finance Committee’s bill cannot be called real reform,” says IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “The bill hits middle class families from every direction. First, employers don’t have to offer insurance, which means workers will be forced to buy elsewhere. And, without a public option, they’re sure to be met with premiums they can’t afford. If they don’t purchase a plan, they’ll be penalized. And if they do have insurance through their employer, they could be slapped with higher taxes. What kind of reform is that?”