Gottschalk stresses that, in the United States, the social welfare system is anchored in the private sector but backed by government policy. As a result, the private sector is a key political battlefield where business, labor, the state, and employees hotly contest matters such as health care. She maintains that the shadow welfare state of job-based benefits shaped the manner in which labor defined its policy interests and strategies. As evidence, Gottschalk examines the influence of the Taft-Hartley health and welfare funds, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (E.R.I.S.A.), and experience-rated health insurance, showing how they constrained labor from supporting universal health care.
Labor, Gottschalk asserts, missed an important opportunity to develop a broader progressive agenda. She challenges the movement to establish a position on health care that addresses the growing ranks of Americans without insurance, the restructuring of the U.S. economy, and the political travails of the unions themselves....Continua