Yet another union boss takes umbrage with ObamaCare
posted at 1:21 pm on May 21, 2013 by Erika Johnsen
The number of labor unions now calling for the repeal of or changes to ObamaCare is starting to stack up as they progressively realize that in many cases they cannot, in fact, keep their same health care plans, as much as they may indeed like them — which is all rather interesting, seeing as how Big Labor was falling all over itself in support of getting the law passed back in 2010.
In an op-ed in The Hill today, the president of the 1.3-million member strong United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Joseph Hansen, complains that ObamaCare as-is is going to undermine the current setup of UFCW members’ health insurance, and asks that the White House provide a fix to protect the multi-employer plans:
For decades, unions have negotiated high quality, affordable health insurance through nonprofit Taft-Hartley plans — one of the few reliable private providers for lower income individuals. …
But as currently interpreted, the ACA would block these plans from the law’s benefits (such as the subsidy for lower-income individuals and families) while subjecting them to the law’s penalties (like the $63 per insured person to subsidize Big Insurance). This creates unstoppable incentives for employers to reduce weekly hours for workers currently on our plans and push them onto the exchanges where many will pay higher costs for poorer insurance with a more limited network of providers. In other words, they will be forced to change their coverage and quite possibly their doctor. Others will be channeled into Medicaid, where taxpayers must pick up the tab. …
The ACA offers a subsidy to lower-income individuals and families so they can afford to purchase this insurance. As many of our members fall into this category, we believe the subsidy can and should apply to nonprofit plans. All we want is equality — where our plans are treated the same as for-profit insurers. …
We don’t want a handout. Our members want to keep the healthcare they currently have. Let me repeat — our members want to keep the healthcare they currently have. We just want them to be treated fairly.
Huh. So far, the White House has been disinclined to acquiesce their request — though one might be able to summon a bit more sympathy for them if they hadn’t actively pushed for and applauded ObamaCare’s passage in the first place.
Labor unions’ growing chagrin with the vagaries of the Obama administration’s signature legislative achievement has lately been mirrored by many Democrats’ growing worries over the law’s implementation and initial stages, and the subsequent potential for some negative effects on their 2014 midterm prospects; given their union allies’ catching disgruntlement, it’s a fear that’s definitely justified.