The worm has turned on the once-cozy relationship between organized labor and President Barack Obama.
Outraged at the President’s stoic silence in the face of labor unions’ pleas for massive changes to Obamacare (a plan they once ardently supported), union leaders have begun playing out the fight over the Affordable Care Act in the court of public opinion, launching verbal salvos against the Administration to any reporter who’ll listen.
The union complaints that Obamacare will gut their members’ so-called “Cadillac” insurance plans has made the AFL-CIO say things like “You made the problem; you fix it” and the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers issue a statement calling for its “repeal or complete reform.”
So now, in a further piecemeal enforcement of the very law he strove so diligently to convince Congress to enact, the President appears to be throwing his old union buddies a bone.
On Monday came several reports that the White House will likely provide healthcare coverage subsidies to labor union members who already have health insurance plans through their employers — despite the fact that such subsidies are intended, as the law itself states, for those who lack any form of health insurance.
The issue at hand is the way Obamacare affects multi-employer health plans, also known as Taft-Hartley plans. These plans consist of employer-sponsored health insurance that is arranged between a labor union in a particular industry, such as restaurants, and small employers in that sector. Approximately 20 million workers in the United States are covered under such arrangements…
Workers with employer-sponsored coverage don’t qualify for subsidized coverage on Obamacare’s insurance exchanges. Those subsidies are designed for low-income people who aren’t offered coverage from their employers, and have to shop for insurance on their own. But the labor union leaders want those subsidies to also apply to their members with employer-sponsored coverage, even though they already get those benefits tax-free due to the employer tax exclusion for health insurance.
That amounts to special treatment. The subsidies written into the Affordable Care Act were intended to assist the poor, those who were never able to afford insurance prior to the panacea of Obamacare. For the Administration to retroactively apply an exemption for any group that isn’t singled out in the law itself — in this case, organized labor — is as naked a concession to the political players who matter to Obama as was the vile healthcare exemption the White House crafted to benefit Congress and Capitol Hill staff.