Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Labor Unions Start Turning Against Obamacare

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (R-CA), leaders of three major unions say that the health benefits of their members are now in peril thanks to the implementation of 0bamacare.
The leaders of three major U.S. unions, including the highly influential Teamsters, have sent a scathing letter to Democratic leaders in Congress, warning that unless changes are made, President Obama’s health care reform plan will “destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.”

If that’s not bad enough, the Affordable Care Act, if not modified, will “destroy the very health and wellbeing of our members along with millions of other hardworking Americans,” the letter says.
The union leaders point out that the employer mandate incentivizes companies shifting full time employees to part time status by cutting an employees hours to less than 30 a week. A number of employers have already announced they would be cutting back on employees' hours to avoid increased costs under President Obama's healthcare act. The reduced hours also mean reduced pay for the affected employees, who still have to purchase their healthcare under 0bamacare's individual mandate.

Further implementation of the plan will adversely affect group healthcare coverage between union labor and multiple companies within an industry, Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa claims.
Multi-employer plans, also called Taft-Hartley plans, are health insurance benefits typically arranged between a labor union in a particular industry, such as restaurants, and small employers in that industry. About 20 million workers are covered by these plans; 800,000 of Joseph Hansen’s 1.3 million UFCW members are covered this way.

Taft-Hartley plans, they write, “have been built over decades by working men and women,” but unlike plans offered on the ACA exchanges, unionized workers will not be eligible for subsidies, because workers with employer-sponsored coverage don’t qualify.

Obamacare’s regulatory changes to the small-group insurance market will drive up the cost of these plans. For example, the rules requiring plans to cover adult children up to the age of 26, the elimination of limits on annual or lifetime coverage, and the mandates that plans cover a wide range of benefits will drive premiums upward.

But the key problem is that the Taft-Hartley plans already provide generous and costly coverage; small employers now have a more financially attractive alternative, which is to drop coverage and put people on the exchanges, once the existing collective bargaining agreements are up.

Somehow, I suspect Hoffa and the other union presidents knew that 0bamacare would be the massive trainwreck they're saying it is, but were banking on some sort of carve-out or exemption for the unions written into the law. After lobbying tirelessly since 2009 for its passage and implementation and pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the campaign coffers of President Obama and liberal politicians who helped get the law passed, they're just now finding out there is no immunity for them for the law that they so vociferously backed. This leads me to wonder how well squandering hundreds of millions of dollars and years of political capital are going over with the union's rank-and-file workers.

Earlier this month, the White House announced a delay in enforcing the employer mandate provision of the healthcare law. Critics point out that the one year delay is technically illegal and the timing was suspect, pushing the mandate back until after the 2014 mid-term elections. The delay also applies only to businesses, the individual mandate is still intact.

Last month, Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced that the White House was in talks with the NFL and NBA to promote the upcoming 0bamacare rollout. By the end of  June, however, the National Football League announced that they would not be promoting 0bamacare. Spokesmen from the NHL and Major League Baseball also confirmed they were contacted by the administration regarding promoting enrollment in the healthcare law, but had yet to meet with any HHS officials.

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