Statement from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Health Care Reform Legislation

“Now Is the Time to Say Yes”

After a lot of deliberation by our national unions, the AFL-CIO has decided today to put our strong, active support behind the president’s health care bill. After 60 years of fighting for health care reform, we are convinced that now is the time to say “Yes.  This health care bill is good for working families—now and even more in the future.

It is not a perfect bill. But we are realistic enough to know it’s time for the deliberations to stop and for progress to begin. And we are idealistic enough to believe this is an opportunity to change history we can’t afford to miss.

That’s not what you’ll hear from the insurance industry. They’ve plastered their money and lobbyists across Capitol Hill to try to stop this bill because it’s a game-changer for them. It ends what is literally a reign of insurance company terror. Rising health care costs are crushing families and businesses. Middle class families are losing health care coverage faster than any other group today.

This bill is a solid first step in changing that. It will make health care more secure for all Americans. 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 health care 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 health care reform will not be paid for on the backs of working people.

The activism of millions of working people has made the health care bill stronger, and that doesn’t stop now. We are mobilizing at the grassroots, marshalling state and local leaders and putting everything we have into passage of this landmark legislation—and it will pass. And we will continue working to improve health care for all Americans. That is our goal, and this legislation moves us closer to achieving it.

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