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The purpose of health-care reform is to cover more people, not figure out how to cover fewer people

SEIU president Andy Stern on the individual mandate:

The whole purpose of this is to cover people, not figure out how we don’t cover people. Our goal is to solve, in the conference committee, some of the affordability issues that we think are not adequately addressed. It’s not a question of whether you’re buying coverage from private insurance or not. It’s a question of whether people can afford it, whether they can afford the co-pays and deductibles.

Look, I’m covered by private insurance and most of our members are covered by private insurance, whether or not I like it. So I don’t think that’s a reason to oppose the mandate. We want to improve the affordability. But I don’t think letting people out of being covered is the right way to do that.

There's much more in this interview with Jon Cohn.

By Ezra Klein  |  December 18, 2009; 2:30 PM ET
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Ezra, this is probably worth a link:
Can't tell you how many folks I've heard from along those lines.

Posted by: AZProgressive | December 18, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

The line of reasoning goes that it's better for people to die in order to deny profits to corporate insurance providers.

Even Andy Stern, the union leader, is capable of rationality and compassion when so much of the faux progressive left isn't.

Posted by: cmpnwtr | December 18, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Once again we're confusing health insurance with healthcare. There will still be deaths due to access problems. There will still be medical bankruptcies. The only problem this bill solves is a political problem for Obama.

Andy Stern is a poor leader who has repeatedly harmed the labor movement by putting his own partisan interests above those of his union brothers. He is widely disliked even within the SEIU. My local UHW is trying to leave his union and rejoin AFL-CIO. Who cares what he says?

Posted by: bmull | December 18, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"The line of reasoning goes that it's better for people to die in order to deny profits to corporate insurance providers."

That perfectly sums up the attitude of "progressive" activists.

Look at how the lines are drawn:

1) Don't kill the bill - Andy Stern, Bill Trumka (people who didn't grow up with silver spoons up their you know what)

2) Kill the bill - Keith Olbermann (millionaire media huckster), Arianna Huffington (another millionaire huckster), Howard Dean (privileged upbringing), DailyKos (white, affluent, college-educated kids with health insurance)

Posted by: crazymoloch | December 18, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

crazy--Trumka says he will not support the bill without substantial changes, including a public option. He's a good guy. Don't lump him with Stern.

AZ--Ezra never links to Greenwald. He can't handle the truth. He prefers to live in an echo chamber with Ygliesias, Jon Cohn, etc. parroting White House talking points. It's the pathway to riches for sure, but increasingly not interesting to read.

Posted by: bmull | December 18, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse


Trumka clearly said not to kill the bill, unlike the people I listed.

Posted by: crazymoloch | December 18, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse


great points.

Its easy for hucksters like Olbermann (who btw haven't a clue how the system works now and at least 3x a night is factually incorrect about his points) to go off on the current plans.

I especially despise how he leads his followers to their financial doom.

All the while he keeps making sure GE still pays for his benefits. He should stick to football, something he knows a little something about.

Posted by: visionbrkr | December 18, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

This does nothing to make me want to support the mandate--quite the opposite, it makes the mandate sound like servitude.

Posted by: wclark57 | December 18, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Letting people out of being covered? You have got to be kidding me. So in a free society, we need permission to be "let out of being covered"? This is an absolute farce. I don't care if mandates do save a percentage on premiums, the government should not be able to force people to buy insurance.

Posted by: Bob65 | December 18, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

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