As most informed observers realize, our new President-elect achieved his November victory with more than a little help from his “friends? in the Service Employees International Union. The union’s PAC made more than $27 million in contributions to Obama’s campaign while SEIU members knocked on nearly 2 million doors, made 4.4 million phone calls, sent more than 2.5 million pieces of mail, and registered 85,914 voters.

What the SEIU wants in return for all this largesse is help in unionizing the health care industry, and a clear sign that Obama intends to provide that assistance can be found in his nomination of Hilda Solis, the hand-picked candidate of SEIU President Andy Stern, for Secretary of Labor. Solis made her priorities clear during the press conference in which Obama announced her nomination:

As secretary of Labor, I’ll work to strengthen our unions …

And a key strategy in “strengthening? unions will be an aggressive program to organize hospital workers. Solis isn’t merely a longtime supporter of the Orwellian “Employee Free Choice Act,” which unions see as the key to dominating health care, she has a track record of encouraging health care workers to hold patients hostage to union demands. As it was gleefully phrased in a news release from SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West:

She has stood alongside healthcare workers as they fought to form unions in their hospitals.

Early in my career, I worked in a unionized hospital. Not only did the union make it nearly impossible to terminate incompetent (and sometimes even dangerous) staff members, its wage demands put constant upward pressure on the cost of running the hospital. This is what the SEIU, and apparently our new President-elect, want to do to the entire U.S. health care system.

And for anyone who thinks I’m exaggerating the potential ill effects of health care unionization, I have one word—-Detroit.

Comments 3

  1. JoshMD wrote:

    Do you think that Obama would/have to outlaw private medicine? Do you think he could force CMS on primary care?

    I will be starting my insurance free, cash only, concierge clinic in 18 months and it could be problematic if he did.

    Posted 01 Jan 2009 at 11:07 pm
  2. Marc Brown wrote:

    Who would you rather have taking care of you – happy, productive and well paid workers, or those living in fear of victimisation and intimidation by their employers, which is all too common in your healthcare system? As for the idea that many poorly paid and stressed staff – who let’s not forget chose to care in the first place – suddenly lose their caring priority by dint of joining a union – well what do you think? And I doubt even you would outlaw the right to collective representation.

    Posted 02 Jan 2009 at 8:42 am
  3. Paul wrote:

    Once again, Marc Brown posts hyperbole without even a shred of evidence to back it up.

    JoshMD, I hear there are cash-only clinics that operate in Canada in spite of the law, so I doubt running one in the U.S. would be a problem, even under Obama.

    Posted 02 Jan 2009 at 11:22 am

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