Let’s look at the current state of healthcare in the United States and unions part in improving it and or hampering it.

The rise of Medicare for All has been accompanied by growing confusion over its meaning. The pure model of Medicare for All seeks to establish a national insurance program operated by the federal government, prohibiting private insurance for services covered by the publicly funded government plan. Under this plan, the Veterans Health Administration and Indian Health Service would remain separate.

For several years healthcare activists in New York have been pushing the New York Health Act, a single-payer bill that would provide statewide universal health coverage.

There are several New York City municipal unions that are part of the New York City Municipal Labor Committee that have serious issues with the bill. This reflects a complicated relationship between the labor movement and the fight for Medicare for All. Unions have been forced to fight just to keep healthcare under political siege from the right.

But with access to universal public healthcare, labor would be free to spend its energy fighting for higher wages and better working conditions. The good health benefits among union workers in New York and the entrenched Democratic Party ties explain the spotty labor support.

The struggle for Medicare for All is far from over, as more workers organize in unions and understand that Health care is a basic Human Right.