Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
MARX: A HERO FOR OUR TIME? — Suddenly, everyone from the Wall Street Journal to Rolling Stone seems to be talking about Karl Marx. Louis Proyect delves into this mysterious resurgence, giving a vivid assessment of Marx’s relevance in the era of globalized capitalism. THE MEANING OF MANDELA: Longtime civil rights organizer Kevin Alexander Gray gives in intimate portrait of Nelson Mandela and the global struggle of racial justice. FALLOUT OVER FUKUSHIMA: Peter Lee investigates the scandalous exposure of sailors on board the USS Reagan to radioactive fallout from Fukushima. SOUTHERN DISCOMFORT: Kim Nicolini charts the rise of Matthew McConaughey. PLUS: Mike Whitney on the coming crash of the housing market. JoAnn Wypijewski on slavery, torture and revolt. Chris Floyd on the stupidity of US policy in Ukraine. Kristin Kolb on musicians and health care. And Jeffrey St. Clair on life and death on the mean streets of an America in decline
What's Missing from the AFL-CIO Health Care Survey

How Corrupt is That?

by RUSSELL MOKHIBER

The AFL-CIO recently posted a health care survey on its web site.
And in the key question (question 21) about the future of the health care system, the AFL gives you a choice.

Health care reform should let people choose to have private insurance or a public health insurance plan.

or:

Health insurance should remain in the hands of private insurance companies.

There is no choice for single payer:

The hundreds of private health insurance companies should be replaced by a single payer.

Single payer is the choice of a majority of individual members of the AFL, a majority of Americans, a majority of doctors, nurses, health economists and small businesses.

But the AFL-CIO leaves it out.

Why?

Because the AFL doesn’t want to offend the private health insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, President Obama and the Democratic leadership in the House and Senate – who have taken single payer off the table.

Or as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put it last week:

“Over and over again, we hear single payer, single payer, single payer. Well, it’s not going to be a single payer.”

Many within the AFL-CIO, including Rose Ann DeMoro, head of the California Nurses Association, and a key single payer supporter, know that the AFL is corrupt to the core.

Yet they bite their tongues.

It’s either that, or banishment.

Or if they criticize, the criticism is so mild as to go unnoticed.

Andy Coates is an MD and steward in the Public Employees Federation of the AFL.

“Everyone knows that single payer is supported by many within labor,” Coates said yesterday. “Over 500 union organizations, including 39 state AFL-CIO’s and 126 Central Labor Councils, have endorsed HR 676 (the House single payer bill) which is co-sponsored by 76 members in the House of Representatives. Recently, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a friend of labor, introduced SB 703, a single payer bill, in the Senate.”

“Since a large section of unions and union members supports a single payer solution to the health care crisis, it is unfair to construct a survey that completely ignores opinions from single payer advocates,” Coates said.

It’s not only unfair, Dr. Coates.

When the majority of your membership wants single payer.

And you don’t even put it on the survey.

That’s more than unfair.

The only question remaining is:

How corrupt is that?

RUSSELL MOKHIBER is editor of Corporate Crime Reporter and founder of singlepayeraction.org