Yep: Unions get their exemption from ObamaCare's reinsurance fee

The inevitable conclusion to the drama that was Big Labor at first relentlessly campaigning on behalf of both ObamaCare and Barack Obama, only to realize just a little too late that ObamaCare would have a pernicious effect on them personally by messing with many union members’ insurance plans and thus deciding to furiously lobby the White House for special treatment, is finally official.

A few weeks ago, the Obama administration hinted that they were going to acquiesce to Big Labor’s demand for a break by exempting certain self-insured, self-administered plans (i.e., their multi-employer Taft Hartley plans) from the temporary reinsurance fee that was supposed to apply to them in 2015 and 2016. The reinsurance fee, however, was meant to raise $25 billion over three years to help pay for ObamaCare, and raise $25 billion it shall — by making up for that lost revenue elsewhere. Via the Washington Examiner:

The rules change, first proposed by the White House earlier this month, was announced by the Health and Human Services Department on Monday evening. The change exempts “self-administered, self-insured group health plans” from the law’s reinsurance fee.

The shift will raise the cost of the tax for those who do pay to $44 a year. It had previously been $42. In essence, the change is forcing those who don’t get the exception to pay an extra $2 for those who do.

It isn’t the eligibility for ObamaCare’s subsidies for which unions were really pulling, but it ain’t peanuts, either. The administration could hardly leave Big Labor completely out to dry, especially now that it looks like Democrats are going to need all the 2014 help they can get to ward off criticisms of ObamaCare’s inauspicious debut; but, of course, the administration insists that this really wasn’t specifically about giving unions a break at all, no sir! Via Fox News:

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., who flagged the obscure rule change after it was filed in the Federal Register (see page 70), blasted the exemption as “crony capitalism at its worst.”

“Unions are now experiencing the ugly reality of this law, and they want out,” he said in a statement. …

A Health and Human Services official also disputed the claim that this is directed at unions.

“This definition would exempt any self-insured group health plan that does not use a third party administrator for claims processing or enrollment, not only union plans,” the official told, adding they are proposing the change to better “align” the definition with the law. “The phrase ‘self-insured, self-administered plans’ is not synonymous with multiemployer plans, or Taft-Hartley plans.”

Puh-lease, spare us the rhetorical parsing. It’s not going to mask the fact that this administration is making up rules and changes as they go along, whenever and however they see fit.

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