So if the ACA is achieving its goals, cost containment and broader coverage, thanks to a key provision that President Obama and his advisers fought hard to include in the law — why would Clinton and other supposed “progressives” join with Republicans in condemning that provision?
There’s a smidgen of a genuine policy concern here: To avoid the tax, some employers are providing workers plans that rely on higher deductibles and co-pays to hold down health-care consumption and, accordingly, costs. For some low-wage workers, the additional out-of-pocket expense can be burdensome. A case can be made for adjustment of the tax to account for the specific characteristics — age, overall chronic disease prevalence — of a given employer’s workforce.
But the main consideration for Clinton and her fellow candidates, by far, was politics. To wit: The labor unions weigh heavily in internal Democratic Party deliberations, and the unions hate the Obamacare excise tax.
The reason is obvious: Collective bargaining in this country developed under a system of employer-based health insurance, subsidized via the tax exclusion.