As the old saying in Washington goes: if you can’t attack the message, attack the messenger. Nobody knows this strategy better than the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a big labor union known for bullying anyone it disagrees with into submission. And that is why they are turning their “activists” against the Lewin Group, a nonpartisan, independent health care research firm.
In the past couple weeks, thousands of conservatives have taken to Twitter to say #handsoff and push for health care reform that leaves medical decisions in their hands and not the government’s. Now SEIU leaders are urging their members to tweet “Lewin Group FAIL” to Members of Congress on Twitter, FAIL being the ultimate dig on the social networking site. And by doing this they are showing that without a coherent health care message, they have shamefully resorted to attacking those who crunch economical models for a living.
In fact, the Lewin Group is an independent and well-respected national health care and human services policy research and consulting firm with expertise in modeling, statistics, and actuarial analysis and more than 35 years of experience. They regularly analyze proposals from Democrats and Republicans, non-profit foundations, associations and for-profit corporations, across the ideological spectrum. While their estimates may differ from the Congressional Budget Office, they are not alone in projecting that millions of Americans will lose their private coverage if there is a government-run health plan.
In 2007, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT) said in a joint op/ed in the Wall Street Journal: “The Lewin Group [is] the gold standard of independent, health-care analysis.”
SEIU stands to gain handsomely from President Obama’s health care reform, as it currently represents 17% of hospital employees across the nation. Its end goal is to unionize 100% of those employees, and how better to do that than to help President Obama “reform” the industry in its favor? Our children’s public schools are gripped into submission and substandard care by teacher’s unions, and now SEIU hopes to duplicate this money and power in the health care industry.
SEIU President Andy Stern will tell you that he wants to “build a health care system that works for everybody.” Hmm, that seems genuine. But SEIU’s history shows greater care for union dues than your health. In October 2005, the SEIU and their sister organization ACORN ruthlessly bussed in vanloads of sick supporters to two Chicago emergency rooms to teach them a lesson for not unionizing by overloading the ER and harassing the doctors and nurses on duty. The result was a very long day and insufficient care for all.
Even former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala called out SEIU for endangering their members during a hunger strike in Florida saying: “We are devastated that the union is risking the health and well-being of our students and the Unicco employees by sanctioning an activity as drastic as a hunger strike.” Apparently, five demonstrators were taken to the hospital, one with a mild stroke.
So when the SEIU attacks an independent organization revered by people on all sides of the political spectrum in the name of improving American health care, it stands to reason you should be skeptical of their motives. Resorting to these “Chicago style” tactics won’t bring about reform, and it won’t elevate this debate. What it will do is distract America from the facts: millions stand to lose their private insurance coverage if the President’s plan for health reform is enacted. Period.
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