AFL-CIO offers healthcare reform ideas

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A major union is advocating universal healthcare coverage, expanding services such as Medicaid, and a stronger prescription drug program.

The AFL-CIO recently adopted statements related to healthcare reform at its two-day summer meeting in Chicago. The federation wants the newly elected Congress to consider its reform ideas next year. One of its major concerns is that healthcare costs are threatening employer-sponsored coverage.

Its proposals include: moving toward universal healthcare, a system in which all Americans can receive insurance; reining in skyrocketing healthcare costs; preserving retiree health benefits; and expanding social programs such as Medicaid. It also is calling for reform related to the Medicare Part D drug program. Congress should extend the enrollment deadline and require the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate for lower drug prices, the AFL-CIO said.