Union leaders: ObamaCare will “destroy the very health and wellbeing” of America’s working class

posted at 12:01 pm on July 15, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Bear in mind that Big Labor went to bat for ObamaCare in a big way throughout the months-long debate over its passage.  When Tea Party activists demonstrated to raise opposition to the legislation, unions like the Teamsters counterprotested, sometimes violently, in an attempt to intimidate conservatives into acquiescence.  Unions spent big money in the 2010 election hoping to protect Democrats from the consequences of their votes on ObamaCare, arguing that the bill would help the working class by sticking it to insurers and fat cats.

Now that the law is about to be implemented, though, it suddenly looks awful to union leaders like Teamsters president James Hoffa, UFCW president Joseph Hanson, and UNITE-HERE president D. Taylor.  The Wall Street Journal published a letter on Friday that the union leaders sent to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi expressing shock, shock that a massive and expensive government intervention would screw up the labor market:

Like millions of other Americans, our members are front-line workers in the American economy. We have been strong supporters of the notion that all Americans should have access to quality, affordable health care. We have also been strong supporters of you. In campaign after campaign we have put boots on the ground, gone door-to-door to get out the vote, run phone banks and raised money to secure this vision.

Now this vision has come back to haunt us.

Well, they’re certainly not alone in that.  But what part of “massive government intervention” didn’t they figure out the first time around?  The letter explains:

First, the law creates an incentive for employers to keep employees’ work hours below 30 hours a week. Numerous employers have begun to cut workers’ hours to avoid this obligation, and many of them are doing so openly. The impact is two-fold: fewer hours means less pay while also losing our current health benefits.

Maybe if they’d listened to Tea Party activists instead of shouting them down, the union leaders might have figured this out in 2009.  Opponents of the bill argued all along that the incentives presented by ObamaCare would kill employer-based coverage, either by depressing hiring or by depressing hours.  We’ve gotten both since the bill’s passage, just as critics predicted.

Next, the union leaders are shocked, shocked to discover that the tax consequences of so-called “Cadillac plans” apply to Obama’s allies:

Second, millions of Americans are covered by non-profit health insurance plans like the ones in which most of our members participate. These non-profit plans are governed jointly by unions and companies under the Taft-Hartley Act. Our health plans have been built over decades by working men and women. Under the ACA as interpreted by the Administration, our employees will treated differently and not be eligible for subsidies afforded other citizens. As such, many employees will be relegated to second-class status and shut out of the help the law offers to for-profit insurance plans.

And finally, even though non-profit plans like ours won’t receive the same subsidies as for-profit plans, they’ll be taxed to pay for those subsidies. Taken together, these restrictions will make non-profit plans like ours unsustainable, and will undermine the health-care market of viable alternatives to the big health insurance companies.

Excuse me, but this was even more obvious than the employment consequences.  Subsidies are only available to consumers in the individual insurance exchanges.  Union health plans are group plans (and partly employer coverage, as the letter points out).  They’re no more eligible for subsidies than consumers in employer plans, and they’ll get taxed just like all other “Cadillac” group plans.  This is only news to those who manned the barricades rather than reading the fine print, or really any print at all.

The union leaders who signed this letter should all resign in disgrace — not because of the letter itself, but because the letter implicitly admits that they’ve been nothing but shills for the administration’s agenda without any thought of how those policies would impact membership.  They spent millions of dollars collected from those workers to make their lives worse.

But the letter does offer one benefit to the trio — it makes them eligible for a Captain Louis Renault Award:

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Wasn’t Trumpka celebrating the fact that Obamacare was shoved down the American people’s throats despite no bipartisan support and a majority of the public not wanting it? He didn’t just support the bill, he was happy about the thuggish way that it was passed.

So what does he have to say about it now?

ardenenoch on July 15, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Eat it.

AH_C on July 15, 2013 at 4:17 PM

The unions wanted it, now they got it. Quit whining and pay the bill.

TulsAmerican on July 15, 2013 at 4:23 PM


Suck it bitches. You should have gotten your mouth’s off Odoodoo’s knob long enough to read the bill.

msupertas on July 15, 2013 at 4:36 PM

Obamacare destroys unions …

Another look at Obamacare?

smoothsailing on July 15, 2013 at 4:40 PM

Union leaders: ObamaCare will “destroy the very health and wellbeing” of America’s working class

Suck on it, you b-astards!

VorDaj on July 15, 2013 at 4:46 PM

Not only should the union goons be subject to Obamacare, they should be the ones Beta testing it for the first 10 year so only THEY are subject to it. If it goes well for them, THEN let’s talk. Until then, bend over and take it up the chuff.

Doug Piranha on July 15, 2013 at 5:26 PM

And yet Obama won’t be blamed for any of it despite it being ‘his signature piece of legislation’.

HoosierStateofMind on July 15, 2013 at 5:29 PM

Ed was much too polite in his explanation of many unions’ support for Obama, so I’ll translate: You unionists helped elect, then re-elect this clown, so CHOKE. ON. IT.!

locomotivebreath1901 on July 15, 2013 at 6:32 PM

“Maybe if they’d listened to Tea Party activists instead of shouting them down…”

Failed Marxist/Socialist Liberal Ideology on display for all to see…

Seven Percent Solution on July 15, 2013 at 6:40 PM

The unions should start looking at their pension plans too. They tend to presume a healthy, growing economy, unlike the one they are supporting. And the long-term unemployed they helped to increase aren’t paying any union dues, are they?

End public sector unions. Allow voluntary membership in every state. Clean up insolvent union pension programs. Reclassify overtly activist unions as political, not labor organizations for tax purposes.

virgo on July 16, 2013 at 12:31 AM

Yes, my wife works for a union which strongly supports Obama and Obamacare. She had a “Cadillac plan” too. They no longer have that plan, and yet the union is still not capable of understanding why.


The change in my healthcare costs are unbelievable. I realize, due to her “Cadillac plan” that I was an exception, but I’ve been used to not paying anything, ever, for my healthcare (even the cost of her plan was picked up by the employer 100%). Suddenly getting stuck with significant bills is no fun at all.

Thanks, Democrats. Thanks unions who supported them.


Yes, I know that all of you who have been paying through the nose all these years have little sympathy for me. :)

Chris of Rights on July 16, 2013 at 11:25 AM