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Healthy, Wealthy, and FairHealth Care and the Good Society$
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James A. Morone and Lawrence R. Jacobs

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195170665

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195170665.001.0001

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Organized Labor’s Incredible Shrinking Social Vision

Organized Labor’s Incredible Shrinking Social Vision

(p.137) 5 Organized Labor’s Incredible Shrinking Social Vision
Healthy, Wealthy, and Fair

Marie Gottschalk

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the role of organized labor in addressing health care and other inequities. It focuses on two institutions of the private welfare state: the Taft-Hartley funds and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which were key in molding labor's stance on health care. The chapter explains why organized labor adopted and then held fast to the idea of an employer-mandate solution and describes some of the wider political consequences of that choice. It also examines how the institutions of the private welfare state and labor's commitment to the employer-mandate idea shaped the last major attempt to address health-care inequities in the United States, the 1993–4 battle over President Clinton's Health Security Act. Finally, the chapter assesses labor's potential in the future to address health-care inequalities.

Keywords:   organized labour, private welfare state, Taft-Hartley funds, ERISA, employer mandate, Health Security Act

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