The South Carolina AFL-CIO has been on record for many years as supporting Medicare for All.
Most union members have better access to health care than others because their unions have fought to win those benefits from employers. However, as health insurance costs rise, and as employers try to take back those benefits we fought so hard for, struggles over health care coverage have become more intense and more common. In most contract negotiations now the number 1 issue is health care benefits, as employers try to shift more and more of the costs onto workers with increasing premiums, co-pays, and deductibles. Employer-provided health care is also one of the biggest weapons employers have to control workers. They threaten to take it away as a way of trying to keep us timid and docile.
We know that the present system of employer-provided health care cannot be sustained. We need to take health care off the bargaining table, and Medicare for All will do that by severing the tie between access to healthcare and our jobs. That will be an important part of strengthening the labor movement and will help make all workers’ and their families’ lives more stable and secure.
Medicare for All will improve everyone’s access to healthcare by eliminating the role of the private insurance companies that stand between us and the medical care we need, just so they can make profit at the expense of our access to healthcare. Under Medicare for All there will be no premiums, deductibles or co-pays. There will be no networks that limit our freedom to choose doctors and hospitals and no more profit-gouging by the pharmaceutical industry that makes prescription drugs so horribly expensive.
The labor movement fights for the interests and concerns of all working people, whether or not they belong to unions, and a strong, fighting labor movement will grow by making it easier for all workers to form unions to improve their living and working conditions, pursue economic security and dignity on the job. And taking healthcare off the bargaining table will make labor stronger.
The South Carolina AFL-CIO is prepared to fight for the interests of all working people in the state of South Carolina, and I’m here today to serve notice that the labor movement intends to be a force to be reckoned with in South Carolina politics. And that includes leading in the very important struggle for Medicare for All. I believe that struggle is part of the fulfillment of the mission of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and it is God’s work. We will rise to the challenge.
Charles Brave, Jr.
President, South Carolina AFL-CIO