Saturday, March 7, 2009

SEIU Withdraws from Health Care Reform Coalition

The Service Employees International Union withdrew from a broad health care reform coalition. NYT reported:

The coalition, known as the Healthcare Reform Dialogue, is led by the president of the American Hospital Association, Richard J. Umbdenstock, and includes representatives of doctors and nurses, patients and consumers, insurers, drug companies and employers of all sizes.

Peter S. Adler, president of the Keystone Center, a nonprofit group facilitating the discussions, said the dialogue started with 20 participating organizations and now had 18.

“S.E.I.U. and Afscme have left the table,” Mr. Adler said Friday in an interview. “They have voluntarily pulled out at this moment. We are trying to keep the lines of communication open.”

Things must have gotten tense on who would step up and pay for 48 million people to get health insurance coverage. Possible groups are individuals, unions, employers and the government.

SEIU President Andy Stern already weighed in on trends in paying for coverage. He said the following in summer 2006. Note he is the head of a health care workers

Andrew Stern, president of the Services Employees International Union. "We have to recognize that employer-based heath care is ending. It's dying. It will not return," he said Friday at a forum sponsored by the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

If employer sponsored health insurance is dying, that means other groups need to pick up the slack. Is that what the fight is about? Should one hold onto their wallet or heart? The big one might be coming.