Quantcast
Published On: Fri, Feb 1st, 2013

Unions working to escape the costly penalties of Obamacare

The ill effects of Obamacare, both intentional and those unintentional are being felt, even by the very supporters of the health care reform law – the labor unions.

According to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal, union leaders are trying to figure out a way to avoid paying for the costs associated with “Obamacare.”

From the WSJ:

Labor unions enthusiastically backed the Obama administration’s health-care overhaul when it was up for debate. Now that the law is rolling out, some are turning sour.

Union leaders say many of the law’s requirements will drive up the costs for their health-care plans and make unionized workers less competitive. Among other things, the law eliminates the caps on medical benefits and prescription drugs used as cost-containment measures in many health-care plans. It also allows children to stay on their parents’ plans until they turn 26.

To offset that, the nation’s largest labor groups want their lower-paid members to be able to get federal insurance subsidies while remaining on their plans. In the law, these subsidies were designed only for low-income workers without employer coverage as a way to help them buy private insurance.

1199SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Maria Castaneda addresses the membership at an Albany rally against health care budget cuts. 2009 protest photo by Thomas Good GFDL with Attribution: Thomas Good / NLN

1199SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Maria Castaneda addresses the membership at an Albany rally against health care budget cuts. 2009 protest photo by Thomas Good GFDL with Attribution: Thomas Good / NLN

“Top officers at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the AFL-CIO and other large labor groups plan to keep pressing the Obama administration to expand the federal subsidies,” the WSJ notes, “warning that unionized employers may otherwise drop coverage.”

“A handful of unions say they already have examined whether it makes sense to shift workers off their current plans and onto private coverage subsidized by the government. But dropping insurance altogether would undermine a central point of joining a union, labor leaders say,” the report adds.

No, really, union heads are acting like no one warned them that costs would go up.

“We are going back to the administration to say that this is not acceptable,” said Ken Hall, general secretary-treasurer for the Teamsters.

“I heard him say, ‘If you like your health plan, you can keep it,’” said John Wilhelm, chairman of Unite Here Health, the insurance plan for 260,000 union workers. “If I’m wrong, and the president does not intend to keep his word, I would have severe second thoughts about the law.”

At issue are the subsidies that will be available through the healthcare exchanges for those who do not receive healthcare benefits through employment and whose household earnings fall below 400 percent of the federal poverty level—currently $90,200 for a family of four.

Unhappy that important improvements in insurance benefits resulting from the healthcare reform law will now cost employers with union workers a bit more—improvements such as no longer permitting insurance policies to place the yearly and lifetime caps on benefits that leave beneficiaries high, dry and broke should they suffer a serious and expensive illness—some labor unions are now asking the government to change the rules to allow low-earning union workers access to the government subsidies so that their employers will not be disadvantaged when competing with companies who have non-union employees.

Were the unions to succeed in these efforts, millions of Americans who were never intended to qualify for healthcare subsidies would suddenly become eligible, adding a huge amount of cost to the program.

This would not only do untold damage to the prospects of success for Obamacare, it could prove to be the final nail in the coffin for a union movement already hanging on by a thread.

Simply put, efforts to subvert the law or seek special treatment at taxpayer expense is just as offensive when it comes from labor as it is when coming from the employer side of the bargaining table—and I say that as a longtime supporter of the labor movement in this country.

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter

* indicates required
/ ( mm / dd ) [ALL INFO CONFIDENTIAL]

About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

Tags
Displaying 1 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. D'LEEDON says:

    Oh my god, you really know your stuffs don’t you? I have been telling my family, friends and they just didn’t nail it like you do!

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter



Categories

Archives

At the Movies



Pin It