WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Teachers is the second-largest nurses’ union in the country and represents more than 130,000 health professionals who practice in a variety of disciplines and settings. AFT President Randi Weingarten responds below to the latest version of the Republican healthcare bill:
“By revising their healthcare bill, Senate Republicans have only succeeded in making a bad bill worse. First they tried to rip healthcare away from millions to give tax breaks to the wealthy and decimate Medicaid as we know it—a lifeline for seniors, children with disabilities, and families—and now they are destabilizing the entire health insurance market.
“This new GOP leadership bill not only continues to strip healthcare away from those who need it, but structurally destroys private insurance by allowing those who think they are invincible to pay virtually nothing while driving up costs for everyone else. The only way an insurance model works is if it includes both those who are healthy and those who are not, so people who feel invincible today have the healthcare they will need tomorrow. By destabilizing the insurance market, it’s almost as if those who wrote this bill secretly want a single-payer system, since that’s the only thing that will be able to fill the gap if private insurance is destroyed.
“Nurses, educators, doctors, hospital leaders and the American people have been clear: Tear up this bill, stop the secrecy, and work to mend, not end, the Affordable Care Act. Nothing short of that will suffice.”