This certainly isn’t the first overture unions have made to the Obama administration on their newfound disgruntlement with the law that they themselves vigorously supported initially, and I very much doubt it will be the last. On Wednesday, the AFL-CIO branch from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s home state voiced their angst over the incoming changes to the current setup of their health care packages, and their biggest gripe seems to have a lot to do with that little ol’ “if you like it, you can keep it” chestnut of days gone by:
WHEREAS, for two years we have sought from the Administration and Congress interpretations to the ACA that merely allows us keep the health plans we currently have: nothing more, nothing less. No special treatment. To date, the Administration has postured on proposals to address the problem, but no proposal to date will actually solve the problem. Our health plans only get worse;
WHEREAS, as a result of Administration inaction to fix the problem, the unintended consequences of the ACA will lead to the destruction of the 40 hour work week, higher taxes and force union members onto more costly plans–eventually destroying the Taft-Hartley Funds completely;
WHEREAS, we are only looking to keep the healthcare plans we have. Nothing more. Nothing less. We are not asking for any special treatment, no additions to what is currently provided by our Taft-Hartley Plans, merely to be allowed to keep the plans we have worked hard to secure for the 65 years we have been governed by the Taft-Hartley law;
Read the whole thing here.
Unions have been relentlessly lobbying the Obama administration to get them to preserve the current Taft-Hartley arrangement under which union members in certain industries can receive health care plans via the joint administration of participating unions and companies, but the administration is so far sticking to their guns on classifying the plans as equivalent to other employer-based plans that are not eligible for the much-vaunted subsidies. The unions are obviously not pleased.
In an interview, UNITE HERE President D. Taylor said the union has been in talks with the White House and the Treasury Department over how Taft-Hartley plans should be interpreted under the law. According to Taylor, if workers under Taft-Hartley plans aren’t eligible for subsidies, employers will see little reason to remain a part of such plans down the road, potentially forcing workers to purchase their own health care on the state-run exchanges, which are unlikely to offer so much coverage at such low rates. …
“We’ve been working for over two years with essentially all aspects of the government, including Treasury, which wants to interpret [Taft-Hartley] as an employer plan, and it’s not,” Taylor said. “The Affordable Care Act has clearly been devised so that it would make our nonprofit Taft-Hartley plans completely uncompetitive.”
“We want to hold the president to his word that you can keep the plan you like,” Taylor added.