The Times covers the ongoing ObamaCare debacle, this time atthe AFL-CIO convention in Los Angeles:
Unions’ Misgivings on Health Law Burst Into View
Despite overtures on both sides — with Mr. Obama agreeing on the call to sit down with some union leaders to address their concerns at the White House, and Mr. Trumka initially hoping to quash such a public rift between the president and his party’s traditional allies — labor leaders criticized the administration and Congress on Wednesday at their convention.
While praising the overall legislation, the delegates overwhelmingly passed a sharply worded resolution that demanded changes to some of its regulations, although Mr. Trumka made sure to strip out some proposals that called for repealing the legislation.
At the convention, though, several labor leaders spoke their minds.
“If the Affordable Care Act is not fixed and it destroys the health and welfare funds that we have fought for and stand for, then I believe it needs to be repealed,” said Terence M. O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America. “We don’t want it to be repealed. We want it to be fixed, fixed, fixed.
“We’ve had our asses kicked on retirement security and we know our health funds are under siege,” he added. “We ask the president and Congress to do the right thing for the men and women we represent.”
The resolution asserts that the law, by offering tax credits to workers seeking insurance from for-profit and other companies in the exchanges, will place some responsible employers at a competitive disadvantage and destabilize the employment-based health care system.
Unions have negotiated substantial health coverage. Under ObamaCare, however, it will be cheaper for companies to drop their coverage, give their employees raises, and let them buy coverage on the new exchanges, subsidized by Mitt Romney's sons, or the rich, or anyway Somebody Else. That makes it tough when the union structure forces its members to forego the raises and the government subsidies.
Team Obama defends itself by encouraging people to ignore basic arithmetic, insisting that one plus one no longer equals two because Obama:
The administration and health officials have repeatedly tried to assure critics that the legislation will not encourage companies to dump workers from employer-based plans into newly created health insurance exchanges, even if the employer-based coverage stands out as more generous and therefore more expensive for companies and even municipalities.
Evidently union leaders are worried that reality will prevail.
The Times eventually explains the math, which was presented at the labor convention:
Some state labor federations have passed resolutions excoriating the health law. Mr. Trumka, torn between trying not to anger the administration while mollifying some of his unions, may have headed off a full-throated call to repeal the law entirely, but some union presidents say they believe they have no other choice.
Union leaders note that under the law, workers whose family income is less than four times the poverty line will qualify for subsidies in the form of tax credits to obtain health insurance in the exchanges, with insurance sold by for-profit, nonprofit and cooperative companies. The union leaders say they want similar treatment — for unionized workers to qualify for those tax credits to help finance their Taft-Hartley insurance plans, which covers about 20 million workers and retirees.
“We just want to be treated like equals — we don’t want special treatment,” Mr. Taylor [president of Unite Here, a union of hotel and restaurant workers that has about 200,000 members] said. “An employer will say, ‘O.K., your plan costs about $10,000 a year. Let me get this straight. I only pay a $2,000 penalty if I drop you. That’s an $8,000 saving for me.’ That’s actually going to happen all over this country.”
I'm sure he's right.