Union Members Are Beginning to Feel That Sharp Pain Between the Shoulder Blades

When ObamaCare was passed the Dissenting Democrat said it was more of a payoff to the private insurance industry than a benefit for the people. Now Unions are finding out that Obama lied when he said union members could keep their existing policies. Obama lie? What else is new? Don’t be surprised if one of Obama’s post-presidential plums will be a seat on an insurance corporate board.

The following excerpts come from THE HILL (May 21, 2013) —

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) — a 1.3 million-member labor group that twice endorsed Obama for president — is very worried about how the reform law will affect its members’ healthcare plans.

Last month, the president of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers released a statement calling “for repeal or complete reform of the Affordable Care Act.”

UNITE HERE, a prominent hotel workers’ union, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters are also pushing for changes.

In a new op-ed published in The Hill, UFCW President Joe Hansen homed in on the president’s speech at the 2009 AFL-CIO convention. Obama at the time said union members could keep their insurance under the law, but Hansen writes “that the president’s statement to labor in 2009 is simply not true for millions of workers.”

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Many UFCW members have what are known as multi-employer or Taft-Hartley plans. According to the administration’s analysis of the Affordable Care Act, the law does not provide tax subsidies for the roughly 20 million people covered by the plans. Union officials argue that interpretation could force their members to change their insurance and accept more expensive and perhaps worse coverage in the state-run exchanges.

Hansen, who is also the head of the Change to Win labor federation, told The Hill that his members often negotiate with their employers to receive better healthcare services instead of higher wages. Those bargaining gains could be wiped away because some employers won’t have the incentive to keep their workers’ multi-employer plans without tax subsidies.

“You can’t have the same quality healthcare that you had before, despite what the president said,” Hansen said. “Now what’s going to happen is everybody is going to have to go to private for-profit insurance companies. We just don’t think that’s right. … We just want to keep what we already have and what we bought at tremendous cost.”

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One response to “Union Members Are Beginning to Feel That Sharp Pain Between the Shoulder Blades

  1. I wonder what the technical background is to this story. I am not aware of any tax subsidies that employers now receive on union plans — and I have been involved in some collective bargaining.

    Typically the employer must add $3 or $5 or some number per hour to all wages for health insurance, and the resulting sum of money buys health insurance. The health care bump is deductible as all wages are deductible, and this is not changing under the ACA.

    The ACA does have a provision to tax the most expensive plans starting in about 2016 or 2018, and maybe that is what the unions are reacting to.

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