President Returns To Labor Group To Stump for Health Care Reform
At the AFL-CIO's annual convention in Pittsburgh Tuesday, President Obama urged members of the labor federation to support Democratic health reform proposals in Congress, the Washington Post reports (MacGillis, Washington Post, 9/16).
Obama defended the proposals as policies that would benefit the middle class.
He said that one of the largest issues facing the economy is a "broken health care system." He added, "When are we going to stop it? How much longer are we going to wait? It can't wait."
According to Politico, Obama's differences with AFL-CIO over a public health insurance option became apparent during the speech. The president received a standing ovation when he said, "I've also said one of the options in" in reform legislation "should be a public option." However, he did not spend much time discussing a public option, saying only that such an option would not result in a government takeover of health care.
AFL-CIO's president, Richard Trumka, later told attendees at the convention that he plans to continue supporting a public option.
Delegates voted to approve a resolution in support of a "single-payer" system, which would put the government entirely in charge of the U.S. health system (Lee, Politico, 9/15).
Obama's speech to the AFL-CIO followed a visit to a General Motors plant in Ohio, where he told workers that his policies have helped to save the automobile industry and jobs (Weisman, Wall Street Journal, 9/16).
He also attended a fundraiser for Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.). Obama during his speech to the AFL-CIO said that he intends to sign the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it easier to form unions (Washington Post, 9/16).
NPR's "All Things Considered" reported on Obama's speech to the labor federation (Gonyea, "All Things Considered," NPR, 9/15).PBS' "Newshour with Jim Lehrer" on Monday reported on Obama's visits to Ohio and Pennsylvania (Woodruff, "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," PBS, 9/15). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.