Archive for the ‘Health Care’ Category

 

 

Labor unions and leftist activists are expected to once again descend upon the Captiol in Madison, WI on Tuesday. They plan to protest Governor Scott Walker’s first 2-year budget proposal, which seeks to cap entitlement programs and make cuts in education while expanding school voucher programs, in an attempt to close a $3 billion budget deficit. Republicans also expect to add the collective bargaining provisions that were passed in March, unless the State Supreme Court issues a ruling before then.

Opponents of Walker’s proposal view their side as an issue of human rights and a statement against corporations, and have not surprisingly ratcheted up the rhetoric. On its website announcing Tuesday’s protest, the Wisconsin state AFL-CIO posted:

Debate will be limited, democracy will be circumvented and the balance will greatly tip in favor of ramming through an anti-worker, anti-family, anti-community agenda. Come bear witness to this denial of democracy… Please take part in democracy and bear witness to the extreme attack on the people of Wisconsin. Join us tomorrow, Tuesday, June 14, as we continue to stand strong against a budget that guts public schools, attacks health care, raises taxes on workers and seniors, and jeopardizes public services like police and fire. All while handing over $300 million a year in tax breaks to the rich.

Oh, the drama….

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by Liberty Chick

If you want to take a pulse on the political vibe in this country, one need only look at Wisconsin.  The state has become the barometer for judging not just the public’s appetite for political battle, but the competitive landscape as well.  The spotlight on anything that has six degrees of separation from a Koch brother has been great drama for Wisconsin’s ongoing soap opera, but audiences in the state and nationwide might get a better show by turning their attention leftward.  Few have examined the strange pattern of money and favor trading that’s been pervading Wisconsin’s beloved circle of progressive politics.

The activity in Wisconsin over the last few months becomes crucially pertinent as the state gears up for the 2012 Wisconsin Senate race.  It’s worth looking at the financial innards  of the Supreme Court race and the protests against Governor Scott Walker in order to assess what the fight for the Wisconsin Senate seat, soon to be vacated by retiring Democratic Senator Herb Kohl, will look like.  What many don’t realize is that this race could have broader implications – not just in national politics, but in specific policy areas, like health care and your personal medical records, for example.  Lots of money, fueled by liberal business interests and an ever-growing progressive movement in Wisconsin, has already been freely flowing.

But is anyone watching? Who are some of these donors?

Let’s start by looking back at the recent Wisconsin protests and the Supreme Court election, and then dissecting some of the money trail.

The hostility stemmed from the union reform bill signed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker on March 11th as a stand-alone portion of the overall budget repair bill.

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[original post 11/21/2010]

It’s one of the most beautiful times of the year in the lovely Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, when the trees are gorgeous hues of crimson and gold, and the sweet smell of hot apple cider is in the brisk autumn air.  As you walk in and out of little village colonials and saltbox houses donning  fall mums and pumpkins on their porches, you’re hit with that waft of burning fireplace aroma – the sort of scene that gives you that comfy feeling of peace and contentment.

But turn the corner and that picturesque scene is disrupted by a tiny sea of purple t-shirts and angry faces.  Yep, you got it – it’s the SEIU!   And they’re not in the holiday spirit, apparently.

Pocono Medical Center, a mid-sized, not-for-profit community hospital nestled in the Pocono Mountains near East Stroudsburg University, has been in SEIU’s crosshairs for months.  The union has been demanding a closed shop at the hospital, despite the desires of other workers, and has since made it the crux of its contract negotiations. They were out protesting last week, making their demands known.  (Not many from Pocono Medical Center participated in the protest, so they resorted to recruiting some nearby friends to join them).

For those not familiar with what a “closed shop” is in union terms, this means that all of those employees would be required to be a member of the union and to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

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[original post 7/24/2010]

Andy Stern has just gained yet another job.  Earlier this month, Stern also accepted a position on the Board of Directors for SIGA, a producer of anti-viral and biological warfare defense products.

But this job seems to have some policy teeth, with a think-tank title akin to Media Matters or the Center for American Progress, and it comes with perhaps some welcome company as well.

andy-stern-091231

From The San Francisco Chronicle:

Andy Stern, former president of the Service Employees International Union, is joining Georgetown University’s public policy school as a research fellow.

Stern, 59, retired in May after building his union into one of the largest in the labor movement and increasing his own influence with President Barack Obama and Democratic lawmakers.

Stern will coordinate research at Washington-based Georgetown on wage reform, labor policy and retirement security, according to an announcement on the school’s website.

Stern of course maintains his position as an adviser on Obama’s deficit-reduction commission, a post to which Obama appointed him in February of this year.

This announcement comes only weeks after the announcement that Ed Montgomery, who has been serving in the White House as both a member of President Obama’s Task Force on the Auto Industry and as the Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, will leave the Obama administration to take over as Dean of Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute.  As very active leaders in the labor movement, both Mr. Montgomery and Andy Stern certainly know one another, and have shared visits at the White House for such activities as Obama’s White House Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth.

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[original post 11/17/2009]

Throughout the debate over health care reform, there has been a great deal of discussion over the role of special interests in influencing the votes of lawmakers. Liberal democrats, progressive think tanks and mainstream media have repeatedly accused anyone who opposes government run health care of standing with special interests instead of with needy Americans, painting them as greedy and selfish. And now that a bill has passed in the House and is on its way to the Senate, big government proponents of a ‘public option’ are already attacking their fellow Democrats’ own bill, insisting that it may as well have been written by special interests.

Funny they should mention that. Because, just like the stimulus bill, it was written by special interests.

laborPACdonations1b

While it’s true that Republicans certainly receive their fair share of donations from the health industry, the surprising truth is that Democrats actually receive more.  Because there’s one giant special interest sector that everyone seems to be leaving out:  Big Labor.  And in the monarchy of labor these days,  there is one queen that’s at the top of the money chain, and that’s the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the top billing union in its parent coalition, Change to Win. Especially when it comes to the issue of health care.

Let’s start first by breaking down the numbers.

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[original post 11/16/2009]

Most average Americans know little about the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Some know them as the people in purple shirts that beat up attendees at the town halls this summer.  Some equate them to ACORN, or to the Obama administration.  While there is some truth to all of the above, there is for certain one title that every voting American should be bestowing upon SEIU, and that is the title of “special interest”.

SEIU Healthcare members group

From 2000 to current, SEIU has spent at least $187,500,000 through combined lobbying, PAC and 527s group donations and expenses on candidates and policy issues – nearly 100% of which went to Democrats and to liberal policy initiatives.  Much has been focused on influencing universal health care, as well as other indirectly related health legislation, such as public nutrition, food safety, research, and environmental health – all part of SEIU’s supposed plan for Building a New American Health Care System. Because, in their words, they “will not stop until every man, woman and child has quality, affordable care they can count on.”

So really…why is SEIU so invested in health care?

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