Barack Obama received major support for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) from the labor unions – both in the public and in the private sector of the U.S. economy. Big Labor received a very Big Bone from the administration in return for this support, in the form of exemption of union-run health insurance plans from a high-end Cadillac Tax until 2018. For everyone else, that tax already kicked in in 2013.
However, Barack Obama seemingly has failed to deliver on a key promise that served to unite the labor unions behind the Obamacare initiative:
“If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” Barack Obama 2008 Presidential Race
John Wilhelm distinctly remembers that unequivocal promise delivered at a Nevada rally. He now understands that Obama’s promise, like that of any politician, will not be honored. And that is a real problem for the chairman of UNITE HERE Health, the insurance plan for 260,000 service-sector union workers. It is now clear that many employers will either cut back coverage or drop coverage altogether, as the administration’s new health care mandates make those private insurance plans uneconomical.
“I heard him say, ‘If you like your health plan, you can keep it,’ Wilhelm recently told The Wall Street Journal. ‘If I’m wrong, and the president does not intend to keep his word, I would have severe second thoughts about the law.”
The problem is very serious for the unions. Negotiating with employers over health care coverage is one of the main benefits they provide to their members. As one union official told the Journal:
“If we’re not offering our members insurance and pension, why would you want to be in a union?”
Big Labor has a solution to this problem. Pressure the administration to extend subsidies to the type of health care plans jointly managed by unions and employers in order to pay off unionized companies not to drop their coverage. The administration is resisting, not least because there is no money from Congress to pay out such bribes. Moreover, paying out bribes openly to Big Labor would not look good in terms of equal protection, however much the left-leaning media might try to disguise the payoff.
Unfortunately for Obama and the Democratic Party, Big Labor helped to deliver key battleground states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in 2012. Without those states, Mitt Romney would now reside in the White House instead of Barack Obama. And, with overall union membership declining to a mere 11.3 per cent of the workforce in 2012, and to just 6.6 per cent in the private sector, Big Labor can ill afford promise-slips like this from the mouth of their captive President.
Hat Tip: Editorial, ‘Obamacare’s grave threat to labor unions’, Sunday Examiner, February 3, 2013
What to do, what to do? When thieves fall out, honest men sometimes come into their own.