The push from the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential candidates to implement ‘Medicare for All’ ran into a significant roadblock: labor unions and union members. The mainstream media inadvertently highlighted this growing schism within the base of the Democratic Party in the past several months in multiple articles, without acknowledging how the Democratic Party has become more extreme ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
Among other promises, ‘Medicare for All’ could abolish private insurance altogether and force millions of Americans to go on government-run health insurance plans. The potential elimination of private insurance sparked backlash from labor unions, whose members want to keep their private insurance.
NBC News published an article on the split between labor unions and ‘Medicare for All’ supporters with the headline, “In Democratic presidential race, labor unions remain cool on ‘Medicare for All’ plans.” Despite the neutral-sounding headline, relations between unions and candidates on health insurance plans were far from cool.
Multiple sources quoted by NBC News said they do not want ‘Medicare for All’ to be implemented because they like their current health insurance plans tied to their labor union membership. Another source told the news outlet that if she went knocking doors and told union members that they have to give up their current insurance plans, union members “never will let that happen.” The majority of union officials quoted by NBC News agreed with one another that ‘Medicare for All’, which could abolish private insurance, was unworkable for their members and “remained unconvinced” by subsequent policy changes.
Other media outlets covered the implications of mandating ‘Medicare for All’ in recent months and failed to admit that they all came to the same conclusion: Union members did not want ‘Medicare for All’ implemented if they were to lose their union health insurance plans. Politico, CNN and the Washington Post wrote that “union workers really love their health benefits” and that ‘Medicare for All’ as currently proposed will not garner their support.
The media inadvertently exposed the Democratic Party presidential candidates’ extremism on health care and health insurance in their reporting, without directly admitting that the Democratic Party was out-of-touch with one of its longtime bases of political support: labor unions. Instead, the media portrayed the issue as an internal disagreement between interest groups, when the truth of the matter is that labor unions are strongly opposed to ‘Medicare for All.’ Until unions can see that private insurance will not be abolished under ‘Medicare for All,’ the Democratic Party’s extreme stance could cause problems in the upcoming 2020 election.