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Thu Feb 20, 2020, 08:57 AM

'Medicare for All' is driving a wedge through labor movement

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a campaign event at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Democratic presidential candidates’ plans to provide “Medicare for All” are driving a wedge through the labor movement, pitting union against union and fracturing a powerful constituency as the primary barrels toward heavily organized states.

Big labor largely supports a push for universal health coverage, but some unions — particularly those who have spent years bargaining for strong health benefits — tend to back an incremental approach over a dramatic switch to government-run health insurance that would abolish their union plans.

The dispute has for months created friction between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Medicare for All’s chief backer, and some unions. But the fight broke open this week as Sanders campaigned in Nevada, the first primary contest in a state where unions carry sway. It’s a rift almost certain to intensify as voters in California, and laterMichigan, weigh in, creating a potential hurdle for Sanders as he tries to win working-class voters.

“We want to keep the union (health care),” Gary Morris and his wife, Mamie, said almost in unison this week as they waited in line to vote early. Gary Morris, a 61-year-old doorman at a Las Vegas casino, clutched a union scorecard that warned about Sanders’ health care plan and listed several Sanders rivals as his favorite choices. “That’s a big thing.”

FULL story: https://apnews.com/550db57228dcb54a2d16b08ae4a5cb66

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