The largest health care labor union in the United States, the Service Employees International, is using its 2.2 million members' hard-earned dues to finance an intense, expensive lobbying campaign in support of the pending health-insurance bill - in order to prop up its failing pension plans.
It spent a significant fraction of its 2009 lobbying budget of $2.7 million on health, purchasing costly ads in major newspapers and on TV, such as one telling Indiana Representative Brad Ellsworth, a Democrat, "to keep standing up for us, not the insurance companies. Pass health insurance reform now."
The union's president, Andy Stern, who is desperately committed to enactment of the bill, is reported to have been the most frequent visitor to the White House over the past year.
The union's Web home page features "The Final Push for Health Care" and urges union members to phone their members of Congress in support of health "reform." The Web site coaches union members on what to tell Congressional staff and even offers a telephone number that will connect union members to their representatives in Congress.
In contrast, the Labor Department's Web site lists pension plans that are in financial difficulty. Several SEIU pension plans are in critical status, meaning they have less than 65% of assets needed to fund financial obligations to future and current retirees, or in endangered status, with less than 80% of needed assets.
What's the connection? The SEIU needs more new dues-paying members to pay for the retirement of current members if it is to rescue its pension plans from subpar performance. It's a Ponzi scheme that would make Bernie Madoff proud. With many of its members employed in health care, the union believes - not illogically - that if more Americans have health insurance, the demand for health care will expand and so will employment in the health sector.
Read it all, but be sure to take your blood pressure medication first! - SP
Friday, March 19, 2010
Why the SEIU Wants Health Reform