Union payoff should get stripped from ObamaCare: Detroit News
posted at 8:05 am on August 29, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Earlier in the week, we found out that unions have good reasons to conduct an Astroturf campaign on behalf of ObamaCare — in fact, ten billion good reasons. The Detroit Free Press reported that HR3200 gives a $10,000,000,000 subsidy to union pension and benefit plans, a key component that had gone largely unremarked. Later in the week, the Detroit News’ editorial board blasted the payoff and demanded its removal:
One reason the public so distrusts the health care plan being considered by Congress is that so many troublesome details keep bubbling out of the massive legislation.
The latest example is the $10 billion taxpayers will be asked to shell out to prop up the United Auto Workers’ retiree health insurance program. …
In effect, it would ask every taxpayer, regardless of whether they’ll have health insurance coverage themselves after they retire — and most won’t — to chip in to maintain the UAW’s coverage, which even after the union’s givebacks is still better than what the average American worker receives.
That’s one important point to remember. Union health plans will be exempt from the limitations of ObamaCare, allowing unions to operate as insurers while forcing everyone else into government-approved plans in “exchanges”. Instead of having the union pay for their own plans, taxpayers will subsidize them, while getting less themselves.
The Detroit News notes that the biggest beneficiary of this largesse will be the United Auto Workers, whose pension plans are in serious trouble. This should be a showstopper anyway, as the American taxpayer has bailed out the UAW not once but twice, first in dumping billions of dollars into GM and Chrysler, and then in the politicized bankruptcies that gave the UAW large portions of both companies.
We’ve spent enough on the UAW, thank you very much. As the editorial argues, it’s up to the UAW to adjust their pension plans to bring them into financial reality, not to the American taxpayers to subsidize their failure for a third time in a year.