Some Unions Grow Wary of Health Law They Backed, Want Government Subsidies To Pay Their Insurance Plans
From the Wall Street Journal:
Labor unions enthusiastically backed the Obama administration's health-care overhaul when it was up for debate. Now that the law is rolling out, some are turning sour.
Union leaders say many of the law's requirements will drive up the costs for their health-care plans and make unionized workers less competitive. Among other things, the law eliminates the caps on medical benefits and prescription drugs used as cost-containment measures in many health-care plans. It also allows children to stay on their parents' plans until they turn 26.
To offset that, the nation's largest labor groups want their lower-paid members to be able to get federal insurance subsidies while remaining on their plans. In the law, these subsidies were designed only for low-income workers without employer coverage as a way to help them buy private insurance.
In early talks, the Obama administration dismissed the idea of applying the subsidies to people in union-sponsored plans, according to officials from the trade group, the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans, that represents these insurance plans.
Contacted for this article, Obama administration officials said the issue is subject to regulations still being written.
Some 20 million Americans are covered by the health-care plans at issue in labor's push for subsidies. The plans are jointly managed by unions and employers and used mostly by small companies. They are popular in industries such as construction or trucking or hotels, where workers' hours fluctuate. By contrast, unionized workers at big employers such as Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. tend to have a more traditional insurance arrangement run through only one employer.What do you want to bet they get all they ask for?