In Defense of the ACA

By Bethany Swanson
USW Intern

Everyone deserves affordable health care, and being sick should not disqualify a person from getting insurance. Most Americans agree that health care is a fundamental right, but that hasn’t stopped the Trump administration from attacking protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

This month, the Justice Department announced it would not defend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) against a lawsuit brought by 20 state attorneys general. The lawsuit claims that Congress’s repeal of the individual mandate requiring all Americans to have insurance renders the rest of the law unconstitutional. The Justice Department argued that because Congress eliminated the ACA’s individual mandate as of 2019, the court should strike down the ACA directive that insurers cover everyone who seeks insurance and charge everyone the same rate, whether or not they have pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, asthma and cancer.

If the 20 red states and the Justice Department prevail, nearly 17 million people could lose their insurance.

The ACA stopped the common insurance practice of  rejecting applicants who were ill or had pre-existing conditions. And the ACA’s community rating provision forbid insurers from raising premiums based on a person's health history. One of the major victories of the ACA was incorporating these provisions and guaranteeing that those with pre-existing conditions could obtain and afford health insurance. Because Republicans failed to repeal the law outright, they’re now picking away at what makes it work, even its most popular and important aspects like the provisions protecting people with common health conditions.

Americans should not live in fear or face bankruptcy because they fall ill. Instead of undermining Obamacare, Congressional Republicans must work with Democrats on a bipartisan solution to protect coverage and lower health care costs for all Americans. 

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Posted In: Union Matters

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work