A 6-year strike in the 1990s ended with a health care deal with which other workers were envious. If “Medicare for All” is enacted, does that mean those efforts were for naught? Meanwhile, despite the warning from the powerful Culinary Union against Sen. Bernie Sanders’ health plan, Sanders easily secured victory in Nevada’s caucuses over the weekend.
The New York Times: What ‘Medicare For All’ Means After A Six-Year Strike For Health Benefits
They each remember that moment, just after dawn on a September day in 1991, when they walked out of the Frontier Hotel and Casino. There was music and singing — “Solidarity forever,” went the song. That first day, the atmosphere was more like a celebration than a work protest. But the strike would go on to last six years, four months and 10 days — one of the longest labor disputes in American history. There were fights along the picket line, with tourists throwing water and food at the strikers, who were more than willing to fight back. There were dozens of arrests. So much time went by that 107 babies were born to pickets and 17 people died during the strike. (Medina, 2/22)
Reuters: Despite Attacks, Sanders’ Medicare For All Boosts Early-State Triumphs
In the days leading up to Saturday’s Democratic presidential caucuses in Nevada, Bernie Sanders withstood one attack after another over his Medicare for All plan – both from his rivals and the state’s powerful hotel and casino workers’ union. But entrance polls from Edison Research showed more than 60% of caucus-goers favored replacing private insurance with a government-run plan, suggesting Sanders’ sweeping proposal helped deliver his decisive win in Nevada rather than damaging his bid. (Ax, 2/23)
The Associated Press: Nev. Union Support For Sanders Shows Limits Of Labor Warning
Members of Nevada’s most politically powerful labor group were warned by union leaders that Bernie Sanders’ plan would doom their prized health care, but they voted for him anyway. The casino workers of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 are powerful enough in Nevada Democratic politics that special caucus sites are set up in Las Vegas Strip casinos to accommodate them. In at least four of those seven caucus sites Saturday, workers threw their support behind Sanders. (Price, 2/23)
Bloomberg: Sanders Brushes Off Questions On Costs, Age On ‘60 Minutes’
Bernie Sanders struggled to provide details on exactly how he would pay for his sweeping proposals to expand health care, child care and more, and also brushed off questions about his age in an interview broadcast by CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday. The Vermont senator heads to the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29 after crushing the field in Nevada and is considered the front-runner among the 2020 Democratic presidential field. (Dennis, 2/23)
Philadelphia Inquirer: Can Bernie Sanders’ Medicare For All Work? No Time Soon, Princeton Economist Says At Penn.
Medicare for All is one of the most talked-about policy proposals of the 2020 Democratic primary — but could it ever happen?According to Paul Starr, a Pulitzer Prize-winning health economist who worked on the failed Bill Clinton health-care plan in the 1990s, the answer is: not any time soon. For one thing, extending the program for older and disabled Americans to everyone would consume so much of the federal government’s resources, it would require massive tax increases and turn the government into “a health insurance company with armed forces,” the Princeton economist said Friday at a health care cost conference held by the University of Pennsylvania’s Leonard Davis Institute. (Gantz, 2/21)
WBUR: It’s Not Clear What Single-Payer Health Care Would Mean For Older Workers
Under a system like “Medicare for All,” there are questions about job loss and older insurance workers. Studies show that job retraining is less effective for older workers. (Jaffe, 2/22)
In other election news —
Kaiser Health News: Getting To The Heart Of Presidential Fitness: How Much Do We Need To Know?
Differences in health policy weren’t the only bones presidential candidates had to pick last week. They also sparred over details of their personal health. And with the next debate and Super Tuesday primaries fast approaching, these skirmishes are likely to escalate. In the run-up to the Las Vegas Democratic presidential primary face-off, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ national press secretary, Briahna Joy Gray, told CNN that opponents are trying to use his October heart attack against him. (Appleby, 2/24)
Politico: How Elizabeth Warren Would Legalize Marijuana And Fight ‘Big Tobacco’
Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she would reduce federal funding to states that refuse to legalize marijuana and prevent “Big Tobacco“ from dominating the burgeoning industry in her wide-ranging plan to overhaul the country’s drug laws, which she announced Sunday in Denver. Warren‘s plan is not as detailed and aggressive as the blueprint outlined by Sen. Bernie Sanders, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, who eviscerated the field in Saturday’s Nevada caucuses. (Fertig, 2/23)
California Healthline: Congressional Candidates Go Head-To-Head On Health Care — Again
The California Democrats who fought to flip Republican congressional seats in 2018 used health care as their crowbar. The Republicans had just voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the U.S. House — and Democrats didn’t let voters forget it. Two years later, Democrats are defending the seven seats they flipped from red to blue in California. And once again, they plan to go after their Republican opponents on health care in this year’s elections. (Ibarra, 2/21)
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