Saturday, September 14, 2013

How Obama, Pelosi, the Dems and Obamacare Stiffed Labor Unions and Workers

One of the biggest incentives for folks to join a labor union was the healthcare benefits, specifically the high benefit, low cost plans offered under the Taft-Hartley plans that are substantially funded by union dues.  Taft-Hartley health insurance plans made a lot of sense.  They are non-profit multi-employer plans within industries that provide ongoing healthcare benefits for folks within certain industries. Union members could freely change jobs within an industry without losing their healthcare coverage. The 2 defining characteristics of Taft-Hartley plans was affordability and portability. Additionally, there were tax benefits to Taft-Hartley plans.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was designed to heavily tax employer provided health insurance, create news taxes on various medical products/services, raise the cost of healthcare and ultimately force businesses to stop offering healthcare benefits to employees by making it so expensive that businesses could no longer afford to provide healthcare benefits to its employees. Effectively, Obamacare is nothing but a costly nightmare that destroys healthcare and lays the foundation for a single payer healthcare system.  That's what big labor, socialists and the government envisioned as Obamacare's end game.

Obamacare health insurance plans are also heavily subsidized with tax dollars provided that the plans are purchased through government approved Obamacare exchanges.  The estimated cost of the Obamacare subsidies was vastly underestimated by those who crafted the Obamacare bill.  American Thinker reports, here
According to the new White House budget, from the time the exchanges open in 2014 to 2021, the administration expects to spend about $606 billion on subsidies, a massive commitment of federal resources. That's about 27 percent more than the $478 billion projected in the president's budget last year, and 65 percent more than the $367 billion for the same period in the 2012 budget....

"The CBO's new baseline estimate shows that ObamaCare subsidies offered through the insurance exchanges -- which are supposed to be up and running by next January -- will total more than $1 trillion through 2022, up from $814 billion over those same years in its budget forecast made a year ago.
Forgetting that Obamacare is a hugely expensive and unaffordable monster, here's where it get really ugly: the Taft-Hartley plans utilized by labor unions are not eligible for Obamacare subsidies because they are not purchased through the exchanges and are considered private insurance.

Once it dawned on labor unions that unionized workers were royally stiffed by Obamacare, the drama unfolded way beyond healthcare costs.  It also dawned on labor unions that the cost of the healthcare coverage they provided would soar and that employers would cut employee worker hours back to 30 hours or less a week to avoid the cost of Obamacare.

Quite naturally, big labor went screaming to the Obama Administration with a long list of legitimate complaints.  

Unions To White House On Obamacare, Taft-Hartley Plans: 'You Made The Problem, You Fix It'

WASHINGTON -- Signaling a growing rift between some unions and the White House over the Affordable Care Act, the Nevada State AFL-CIO passed a stinging resolution Wednesday that criticized the administration for its handling of their concerns with the health care reform law. The resolution claims the law could end up "destroying" the unions' multi-employer health plans if the administration doesn't come up with a regulatory fix.

"[O]ur union members and their families originally offered strong political and moral support for the promise of the Affordable Care Act because it would expand health care coverage for more Americans," the resolution read. But when it came to dealing with the unions' concerns, "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."....

Long used by unionized workers in the building trades and service industries, Taft-Hartley plans are nonprofit health care plans jointly administered by participating companies and unions. The plans have traditionally allowed workers in transient industries to move between employers while still maintaining the same health care. Due to unions' seat at the table, the plans tend to offer strong coverage at a low out-of-pocket cost to workers.....

The Treasury Department has signaled that it views the Taft-Hartley plans as equivalent to other employer-based plans, which aren't eligible for subsidies. Taylor said Taft-Hartley plans should be seen differently because they're nonprofit.

Forbes also reported on the unfolding nightmare.

Labor Unions: Obamacare Will 'Shatter' Our Health Benefits, Cause 'Nightmare Scenarios'‘Unintended consequences’ causing ‘nightmare scenarios’
The union leaders are concerned that Obamacare’s employer mandate incentivizes smaller companies to shift their workers to part-time status, because employers are not required to provide health coverage to part-time workers. “We have a problem,” they write, and “you need to fix it.”

“The unintended consequences of the ACA are severe,” they continue. “Perverse incentives are causing nightmare scenarios. First, the law creates an incentive for employers to keep employees’ work hours below 30 hours a week. Numerous employers have begun to cut workers’ hours to avoid this obligation, and many of them are doing so openly. The impact is two-fold: fewer hours means less pay while also losing our current health benefits.”
Although labor unions do indeed have legitimate concerns about rising healthcare costs and reduced hours of work, they were also seeking eligibility for Obamacare subsidies.  The cost of these subsidies for the 20 million workers covered by Taft-Hartley plans has been estimated at $50 billion and more.

The Obama Administration turned them down flat on Obamacare subsidies.

W.H. rejects labor’s bid for Obamacare exemption
The Obama administration on Friday told labor union leaders that their health plans would not be eligible for tax subsidies under Obamacare next year.

A White House official said the Treasury Department has concluded that such an exemption is not possible under the Affordable Care Act. The labor unions have been asking that their union plans, known as Taft-Hartley plans, be eligible for premium subsidies the way plans on the new insurance exchange will be.
Why did the Obama Administration turn down the request of big labor?  Certainly not because they wanted to deny a benefit to a major core constituency.  At the end of the day, the Obama Administration refused to create a legal loophole that would empower many companies to unionize with the explicit intent to skirt costly Obamacare and its punitive taxes.  You better believe that once Taft-Hartley plans became eligible for federal subsidies that every business in America would use it as a legal precedent to do the same - avoid the taxes and expensive regulatory apparatus.

Here's the Obamacare flow chart disclosing that it's a monster of a regulatory nightmare that will sure gobble up tons of money in administrative costs and leave little money for actual healthcare.

Clearly, such a bureaucratic nightmare cannot possibly implement affordable and cost effective healthcare.

At the end of the day, everybody is screwed and not just workers and labor unions.  Employers everywhere are already laying off workers because they cannot afford the cost of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  The biggest problem with Obamacare is that it's unaffordable at any price. Moreover, more and more American companies are just packing up and moving out of the US because they cannot be globally competitive with the US regulatory and healthcare noose around their necks.

Yeah, big labor has a legitimate gripe because America is a place where the rich get richer, the middle class is vanishing and the poor get poorer.  But big labor has bigger problems because Obamacare will absolutely result in destroying the one incentive to join a labor union - truly affordable healthcare voluntarily paid for by its membership and without government subsidies.  Well, Obama, Pelosi, the Dems and Obamacare took care of that!

Obamacare will destroy healthcare in America as well as our profoundly suffering economy.  America once had the best economy, the best healthcare system and the strongest middle class on the planet UNTIL government goons and bureaucrats deliberately destroyed it all.

America is terminally ill.  Abolishing Obamacare won't solve our immense problems or save the 'patient' because we are too far gone and irreparably damaged by wars and statism.  Abolishing the predator government is our only hope.

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