Sign at the AFL-CIO building in Washington, D.C.
Sign at the AFL-CIO building in Washington, D.C. - 
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Doug Krizner: The AFL-CIO is launching a campaign today for universal health care coverage. The federation, with its 10 million members, wants to influence the national debate in the run-up to the presidential election. But just how big a role can the labor movement play? Jeremy Hobson reports.

Jeremy Hobson: AFL-CIO National Healthcare Campaign director Heather Booth says the AFL-CIO wants health care coverage for all Americans by 2009, and the target audience is anyone running for president.

Heather Booth: And a key part of this campaign is to make health care be a focused domestic issue in this election so that after the election, those who are elected have to actually act.

In fact, the AFL-CIO is looking beyond the current Congress because, Booth says, there's no chance now for the kind of legislation labor is looking for.

But David Burda, editor of Modern Healthcare magazine, says it will be hard for presidential candidates of either party to ignore the AFL-CIO's campaign.

David Burda: I think it's an important development in the health care reform debate and it'll increase the pressure on the next president to take a more dramatic approach to health care reform.

That said, Burda notes he'd be more surprised if labor hadn't come out in favor of universal health care.

In Washington, I'm Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

Follow Jeremy Hobson at @jeremyhobson