Durango Health care a right, not a pawn

To the editor,

Joe Biden and others argue that National Improved Medicare for All (NIMA) would hurt unions. They say workers don’t want to lose their private, employer-sponsored insurance. Well, General Motors (GM) just proved why we need NIMA.

Fifty-thousand striking members of the United Auto Workers walked off their jobs at GM last month in a fight largely over health-care benefits.

GM is holding workers’ superior health-care benefits hostage, using it as a lure to get workers to cross the picket line. NIMA puts power back in workers’ hands. They wouldn’t need to negotiate for health-care benefits, it would be guaranteed regardless of where they work.

Often unions will sacrifice wage and pension increases and safer working conditions for the generous health-care benefits during negotiations. That’s why some of the nation’s largest unions support NIMA and others are moving in that direction.

Maintaining employer-based health care means handing bosses another weapon to use against workers. If we are truly going to stand with union workers and put power in their hands, we must remove their reliance on the goodwill of their employer. Health care must be considered a human right not a pawn.

Under NIMA, whether you’re working or not, or switching jobs, your health care will be right there with you. Employer-based health care lacks stability. Every industrialized country in the world provides universal health care for its citizens. It’s far from a radical solution.

– Jan Phillips, Durango