Is "Fair Share" fair?
From: "RPA" firstname.lastname@example.org
YES, I KNOW, Wal-Mart pays lousy wages and the benefits they provide are
lousy too. Wal-Mart is a lousy corporation. Moved, seconded and carried.
Now that that is out of the way, I feel compelled to comment on an AFL-CIO
program entitled "Fair Share". I know what I am about to write will piss-off
some die-hard supporters of every AFL-CIO idea that has ever come down the
pike, but oh well.
"Fair Share" is designed to require employers of 5,000 or more workers to
pay at least 9% of their payrolls on employee health care. Hey, that doesn't
sound too bad! Not on its face it doesn't. Not if you work for an outfit
that employs 5,000 or more people. "Work for an outfit that employs 5,000 or
more people" are the key words here. What do you get if you work for someone
who hires 500 people? 1,000 people? What if you don't work? Well, "Fair
Share" leaves those folks behind. That doesn't seem "fair".
Incremental, band-aid approaches for dealing with this nation's health care
crisis may actually stall the real reform that is so sorely needed. If "Fair
Share" is passed by State Legislators it will give large employers an alibi
to later exclaim, "I've done my part. It is up to someone else to worry
about the people who are still uninsured. Just don't ask me for any more
money to help them."
To my way of thinking there is an even more important reason for casting a
wary eye on "Fair Share". It is devoid of the social conscience that
organized labor used to practice. Where is the justice in "Fair Share" for
the over 46 million poor souls lacking medical coverage? Where is the
justice in "Fair Share" for another 45 million people who, for at least part
of each year, have no health insurance?
Ah ha! But the guns are out! A smear campaign is underway to discredit
anyone who speaks out against "Fair Share". Never mind if you are a real
worker, the suits and ties pushing "Fair Share" will accuse you of siding
with unscrupulous employers like Wal-Mart. Never mind if you are an avid
hard working proponent of a national single-payer health care program that
will cover every person living in the U.S. and its territories. Never mind
if you advocate for a health care system that will provide everyone the same
access to quality care that is now only available to those lucky enough to
have good health insurance. No, never mind all that. You will be painted as
Whose enemy? Surely not the enemy of the downtrodden and dispossessed.
Surely not the enemy of the hundreds of thousands of families forced into
bankruptcy because they couldn't pay their staggering medical bills. Oh, the
insurance companies will call you an enemy. So will pharmaceutical
conglomerates. So will fee-for-service hospital administrators. So will the
American Medical Association. But really now, they don't count, do they?
Will you lose any sleep if those barnacles on the butt of humanity view you
as the enemy?
If as much energy went into real health care reform as is currently being
expended on simply tinkering with a broken national health care system we
would have single-payer.
So let's turn the tables a bit here. Why are so many movers and shakers -
including some in labor- unwilling to step out and call for real reform?
What are they protecting? Their own status quo?
Labor has a chance to be the real hero. It has the opportunity to embrace
those who otherwise are forgotten by the health care industry and a
mean-spirited government. Think about how popular labor would be if it
advocated for everyone, not just those who work at places that employ 5,000
or more people.
Well, it looks like that won't be the program handed down from on top.
It has got to be rank and file union members demanding that social justice
for all be included in labor's agenda And guess what! It is happening.
Unions and labor councils throughout the land are endorsing single-payer
despite the fact that national leaders are willing to settle for "Fair
Incremental tinkering with health care will delay real reform. Don't be
bullied into supporting a program that falls far short of what is truly
Oh, and Wal-Mart and its ilk can all go straight to hell. If single-payer
were in place today, Wal-Mart and other outfits like it would be required to
financially support it. Isn't that a better way to get back at Wal-Mart?
Isn't championing a program that will provide quality heakth care to
everyone better than incremental approaches that in the end do nothing to
hold down medicval costs? Isn't that better than parcelling out health care
to only the fortunate?