We Have A Plan To Make Health Insurance Easy To Understand

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We all worked incredibly hard to pass health care reform in 2009 and 2010, and we’re proud to now see millions of Americans accessing high quality, affordable health insurance–many of them for the first time.

But some things haven’t changed. For many Americans, navigating their health insurance is just as complex and frustrating as it was before the Affordable Care Act went into effect. At Working America, we wanted to make sure that information and support before, during, and after enrollment was available to out more than 3 million members–and anyone else who needed it.

That’s why we created Working America Health Care.

By enrolling through Working America Health Care, you have access to licensed professionals that can connect you to almost all the health plan options on the Health Insurance Marketplace (aka Healthcare.gov). But for no additional cost, you also have access to hundreds of benefits available through our partners at Union Plus, including dental and vision discounts.

Most importantly, when you enroll in the Marketplace through Working America Health Care, you have access to a personal Health Advocate: a real person you can call to help navigate the complexities of your health insurance. For no additional cost.

Enrolling through us also makes you a member of Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO and the fastest growing organization for working families. Since our creation in 2003, we’ve successfully helped raised the wages of millions of workers, passed paid sick days laws and other worker protections, and helped elect dozens of pro-worker local, state, and federal candidates like Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, Al Franken, Mark Dayton, and Jeff Merkley.

And yes, this program is open to anyone who does not have a union on the job. That includes folks who are freelancers, unemployed, and retired too.

Want to find out more? Visit our website at workingamericahealthcare.org or call 855-698-2479. We’ll also answer as many questions as possible in the comments.

Bonus: Check out Amy Lynn Smith’s great coverage of Working America Health Care on Eclectablog!

Originally posted on DailyKos

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Trumka and Sen. Merkley Call for Senate to Approve NLRB Nominees

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka appeared together Wednesday at a Center for American Progress event to call on the U.S. Senate to move forward on confirming President Obama’s nominations to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). If those confirmations fail to be approved, the board would fall below a quorum on Aug. 1 and no longer would be able to do its job of protecting America’s workers.

The NLRB is important because it protects all workers, not just those in unions, said Trumka. “We can’t let a few obstructionist senators hide behind excuses and let a law enforcement agency that protects working people shut down,” he said.

Kathleen Von Eitzen is a baker at Panera Bread in Michigan who spoke at the CAP event. She is one of 18 bakers who voted to be represented by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) amid opposition from Panera. The NLRB ruled in favor of Von Eitzen and her co-workers, but their case is in limbo because of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s ruling on President Obama’s NLRB recess appointments. Meanwhile, her fellow workers have had their hours cut, evaluations negatively impacted and even have been fired. But Von Eitzen refuses to give up the fight. She says the NLRB is key.

“We need our union,” she said. “We need a National Labor Relations Board to protect our rights. My co-workers in Michigan and working people all over who want a voice on the job are counting on the Senate to do what’s right and confirm the nominees to the NLRB.”

Republicans are filibustering appointments to four government agencies that protect workers’ and consumers’ rights: the NLRB, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Labor. This obstruction keeps them from functioning properly. “It benefits Big Business,” Trumka said. “It doesn’t benefit workers, whether they are union or nonunion.” Corporate America, he said, benefits from this obstruction, and 79% of Republican contributions come from Big Businesses that benefit from these agencies being hampered.

Current law protecting workers’ rights is too weak and too slow and Republicans want to weaken that even further. Trumka said that the rest of the civilized world has much stronger protections for workers and it’s time the United States joins them.

During the current economic crisis, workers have seen falling wages and increasing costs, Merkley said. Protections for workers have to be in place and workers have to have the ability to join together. “We the people,” he said, “is being replaced by ‘we the powerful’.”

There has to be a very clear path on executive nominations in the Senate, but Republicans aren’t playing fair. Merkley said:

This has been Lucy and the football with Charlie Brown…we have to have a clear path to an up-and-down vote.

Trumka rejected Republican claims that recess appointments are somehow invalid, noting that every president since Jimmy Carter has made recess appointments to the NLRB. The president had no choice but to make the appointments. “Their job [Republican senators] is to advise and consent, not negotiate and extort. There is no question that they are clearly abusing the system and stopping democracy from working.”

Merkley said less than one-half of one chamber of the legislative branch is obstructing the actions of the executive branch that was recently re-elected by the public. He said frustration with Republicans is rising in the chamber and there might be enough outrage to make changing the filibuster rules possible. He noted that when Republicans were in power, they threatened to eliminate the filibuster and they have repeatedly violated the spirit of the Senate rules in order to block the president’s appointments. Trumka agreed: “You have proven to us this isn’t about the qualifications of the presidents’ nominees, it’s about the ability to obstruct.”

Photo from Senator Jeff Merkley on Facebook

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Senator Merkley Renews Working America Membership

Tara Murphy – Portland, Oregon

Last week, Senator Jeff Merkley visited the Oregon AFL-CIO and Working America offices for lunch. It was an honor to spend some time with a leader who is truly a champion for working families here in Oregon. In a time when anti-worker legislation creeps across the country, unemployment is sky high, and vital social services are being cut, it is great to have someone like Jeff fighting for us in DC.

Senator Merkley is standing up for the issues we hear are most important to our members every night: creating jobs, protecting our working and middle class, and getting our economy back on track. That’s why he was the first United States Senator to sign up to be a Working America member.

When he renewed his membership during his visit last week, he talked about his commitment to creating jobs, investing in infrastructure, and protecting Oregon workers. He recently said, “Fixing our bridges, which we need to do in order to have a functional, safe transportation system, would put Oregonians back to work and help drive our economy in these tough times. These investments are essential, and we can either do them now, when so many construction workers are unemployed, or later at a much higher cost. This is a no-brainer for both safety and the economy.” A no-brainer indeed!

Senator Merkley has shown his commitment in not just words, but also in his actions as he recently voted against three harmful free trade agreements despite a massive U.S. Chamber of Commerce-led lobbying effort.

So thank you, Senator Merkley. We are proud to call you our Senator and fellow Working America member!

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