Trumka, who met with President Barack Obama on the healthcare legislation March 17, seemed confident that newly released changes to the legislation would reflect the conditions of that deal.
“Eighty percent of the excise tax has been eliminated” from the legislation, Trumka said. It was altered so that it's now based on the consumer price index, “but that change doesn't occur until 2020.” The legislation as it stands now “is far more progressive” than it originally was, but it's not perfect, he conceded.
“There are still a couple of unions that won't support it,” Trumka said. But after 60 years of fighting to get health reform, it's now realistic “for the deliberations to stop and for progress to begin,” he said. The legislation is a solid first step in “ending the reign of insurance company terror. ... It stops insurance companies from denying care based on pre-existing conditions and blocks the worst insurance company abuses. It stops the relentless rise in healthcare costs and expands coverage and care for everyone. It reduces prescription drug costs for seniors and saves money for small businesses. And because of the work we've done, the penalties on employers who try to run from their responsibilities are tougher—and healthcare reform will not be paid for on the backs of working people,” Trumka said.
The AFL-CIO will urge members to contact their representatives if the lawmakers are still undecided on the bill and ask those lawmakers to vote for it, he said.
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