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AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
At its annual convention this week, the AFL-CIO passed a resolution declaring the Affordable Care Act "highly disruptive" to existing union health insurance plans, though it fell short of the calls from some members for repeal.
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. [...]

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 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.”

But others doubt that unions would get such a carve-out because it would also encourage many nonunion workers to seek tax credits to help with their employer-based plans.

Unions acquiesced on a highly controversial part of the law when it was passed, the excise tax for so-called "Cadillac plans," including many plans negotiated in lieu of salary or other benefits increases by unions for their members. Labor didn't like that provision, but lumped it for the larger goal of passing some kind of health insurance reform. But their concerns about the potential for working hours to be eroded to less than 30 per week, and the potential for employers to ditch their health plans have increased. While the resolution offered basic support for the goal.

Labor would like to see the issues resolved by new rules, which the Congressional Research Service said in a memo earlier this year isn't possible. The changes would have to be made legislatively—not a likely scenario.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 01:44 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos Labor and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (30+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 01:44:51 PM PDT

  •  How stupid can it get? (0+ / 0-)

    Pretty stupid.

    “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.”
    Am I the only one who sees the folly of this statement?

    What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she represents—and her supporters celebrate—the joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance. SAM HARRIS

    by Cpqemp on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 01:56:26 PM PDT

  •  Unions could push for employers to pay what (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, tobendaro, notrouble, HeyMikey

    they currently pay to subsidize health insurance, less the $2000 penalty employees pay as higher pay but no longer provide health insurance. Then have the employee get insurance through the exchange which in many cases will also include Federal subsidies.

    The above keeps the employers cost the same as now, while it opens union members to receiving Federal subsidies under ACA which in many cases may result in higher after tax income for union members.  Unfortunately, to determine is this actually advantageous, further analysis is needed for individual contracts.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 02:01:41 PM PDT

    •  Indeed, unions could push for ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... a serious employer pay or play mandate with the "pay" part going toward the health care exchange policy of the member. Then the union members would get both the government subsidy plus the company contribution, and many would be able to afford the "Platinum" level of plans.

      Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

      by BruceMcF on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 02:47:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The proposal I outlined can be done directly (0+ / 0-)

        between the employer, union and worker.

        It does not require Congress to make a change which will be very difficult as long as Republicans have the majority in the House.

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 04:05:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Its true that many of the parts of the ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... ACA that need fixing cannot be fixed so long as the Republicans have (1) a House majority that (2) refuses to fix anything because they are too busy with pointless votes to defund it.

          But the resolution in question does not fall for the near-sighted trap that we refrain from advocating for the fixes we want just because they cannot be accomplished in the next year or two.

          Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

          by BruceMcF on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:41:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Unions have no leverage at this time, and (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Treetrunk

          employers are not likely to accommodate.

          The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

          by magnetics on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 08:41:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  In the end this is exactly what needs to (0+ / 0-)

      happen.

      Insurance companies would have a cow if it did.  AETNA Humana and United Health would be forced to jump into the exchange everywhere unlike they are doing now.  They are purposely staying out in Markets such as California because the large group insurance is so lucrative that IMO, they don't want to rock the boat with lower premiums on the exchange.

      Right man, right job and right time

      by Ianb007 on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 05:41:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Do we still believe single payer is just a few (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paleo

    ...votes away?We still have too many people who already have health insurance who are not going to transition as easily as many seem to think they will.

     I am not at all upset that more people will seek to get access to health insurance that isn't through an employer. In fact, some will get a better deal if they are not eligible for insurance through their employer.

    I swear, the Democratic Party and some of it's allies are just plain politically incompetent. The AFL-CIO should be pressing Congress to pass the EFCA and not making it any harder to implement the CA.

    I think Trumka is a good guy overall, but I need hiim and others to continuing pushing to:

    ...amend the National Labor Relations Act to establish an efficient system to enable employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations [unions], to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts, and for other purposes...

    The politicians may be bought, and the system corrupt, but it is our duty to fix these things.

    by sebastianguy99 on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 02:43:19 PM PDT

    •  Really? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, Dirtandiron, splashoil
      The AFL-CIO should be pressing Congress to pass the EFCA and not making it any harder to implement the CA.
      No way in hell EFCA will pass. When the Dems had the majority in both houses, they wouldn't even consider bringing it up for a vote.

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 04:57:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is only dead if we listen to those too lazy to (0+ / 0-)

        ...fight. Sadly, that could describe many on the Left who are long with words and short with constructive action.

        The politicians may be bought, and the system corrupt, but it is our duty to fix these things.

        by sebastianguy99 on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 07:16:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, when you think of something effective, (0+ / 0-)

          that doesn't cost a few million bucks per Congressperson (the going rate these days to buy one), let me know. Calling and writing them doesn't work, petitions don't work. Even getting the unions to lean on them doesn't work. So tell me your great idea.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 09:01:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Person to person contact on the ground works. (0+ / 0-)

            It always has and always will. The Right did it and continues to do it and we have too many that are too lazy to do it. Talking to people is hard. Persuading others takes a sustained effort not millions of dollars or letter writing.

            Do what you can, but don't keep making excuses for why we aren't more willing to out work the Right on the ground cycle after cycle, decade after decade. Congress,Fox News and the Kochs cannot keep people from talking face to face with others.

            The politicians may be bought, and the system corrupt, but it is our duty to fix these things.

            by sebastianguy99 on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 05:50:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What? On the ground? You mean occupying (0+ / 0-)

              Senate offices or what. I know nobody who opposes EFCA that isn't a relatively large businessman, a corporate offices, or a Congressperson. It isn't canvassing that's failing, it's outbidding the corporations that is failing.

              That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

              by enhydra lutris on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 07:01:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Person to person contact on the ground works... (0+ / 0-)

              if said person 1 is A. white  B. enraged and  C. willing to threaten his Rep with death.

    •  The EFCA is dead. Yuppies killed it. They (3+ / 0-)

      insisted on supporting Starbucks and Whole Foods while they lobbied to kill it.

      "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

      by JesseCW on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 05:57:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yuppies are fake liberals. (0+ / 0-)

        But they are better than conservatives.

        •  I don't agree that there is any substantial (0+ / 0-)

          difference.

          They share a common contempt for poor and working people.

          One is more aggressive, the other more patronizing, but the end outcome is people with two jobs forced to live in their cars either way.

          "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

          by JesseCW on Mon Sep 16, 2013 at 12:47:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Oh for the love of pancakes. (0+ / 0-)

        That is the dumbest thing I've read all day, and I wasted an hour on yahoo.com today.

        •  I guess I missed the boycotts when (0+ / 0-)

          Whole Foods and Starbucks launched a multi-million dollar effort to kill the bill.

          I was too busy listening to the top 20% argue about why it's different when they shop at places with abusive anti-worker policies that hire union busting firms to tell them who to fire than when poor people do the same.

          Whole Foods good, Wal-Mart bad.  Who cares if both fuck over workers, deny them a living wage, and lobby Congress aggressively to kill any right to organize bills?

          "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

          by JesseCW on Mon Sep 16, 2013 at 12:46:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Single Payer will come state by state (7+ / 0-)

      Vermont and California will lead.  But having Harry Reidand AFL-CIO helps.  From the AFL-CIO resolution;

      WHEREAS, in 2009, the AFL-CIO Convention passed two health care resolutions—Health Care Reform Now and the Social Insurance Model for Health Care Reform—which reaffirmed the labor movement’s commitment to health care for all, ultimately through a single-payer system.
      Single Payer will come and you can help

      Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

      by Shockwave on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 07:48:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm glad they did (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, splashoil

    It's a disgrace what the ACA does to quality health plans.  When union members desert Democrats don't be surprised.

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 03:48:19 PM PDT

    •  What exactly did the ACA do to quality (0+ / 0-)

      health plans???

      Right man, right job and right time

      by Ianb007 on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 05:42:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Tax on so-called "cadillac plans" (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Willa Rogers, notrouble, splashoil

        Which a lot of unions received in lieu of pay raises.  They call it "bending the cost curve."  I call it another example of the race to the bottom.

        "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

        by Paleo on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 06:43:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There are tons of quality health plans (0+ / 0-)

          that are not "cadillac Plans" I personally think the unions have ben duped into excepting these way over valued plans in lieu of pay raises.

          Congress has great health plans and they are not even considered cadillac plans.

          Right man, right job and right time

          by Ianb007 on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 10:48:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Union Plans not eligible for Exchange Subsidies. (0+ / 0-)

            You don't understand.  Non-profit Taft-Hartley health care plans are excluded from the "exchanges" where the private rentier insurance plans are subsidized.  IOW union members are taxed to support this sham but excluded from the subsidies given out.  Obama lied to us when He said we could keep our health plans and doctors.  This will not end well.

            •  IBEW statement (0+ / 0-)

              IBEW

              For more than 65 years, multiemployer plans have provided affordable, quality coverage for American workers. Found in nearly every industry, the plans allow small businesses to team up with other employers to pool risk and reduce costs in order to provide high-quality health care for workers.

              But despite President Obama’s promise during the health care debate that Americans could keep their current health care plan, the law would end up forcing millions out of multiemployer plans because small businesses are exempted from the tax on employees that do not provide health benefits under the law.

              “The IBEW is a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act because the goal of making sure every American has access to quality and affordable health coverage has been a legislative priority for the IBEW since our founding,” says Hill. “But our members and allies employers have worked hard for the healthcare they have, and Obama must move now to guarantee that his signature law will not cost them their coverage.”  

              The problem is that the ACA’s definition of a small business – one that employs fewer than 50 employees – exempts large parts of the American economy from the health care mandate. For example, approximately 90 percent of construction contractors employ less than 50 workers, which gives low-road companies in construction and other industries an incentive to not provide their employees’ health care, putting additional pressure on employers that do.

              Workers who are not covered are eligible for a federal subsidy to purchase their own health care – an option not available to employees covered by multiemployer plans.

              “Businesses that did the right thing all along will be punished while employers who helped contribute to the health care crisis will be rewarded,” says IBEW President Edwin D. Hill. “It goes against the whole spirit of the legislation to begin with.”

              The IBEW are calling on the Obama administration to make regulatory changes so workers covered by multiemployer plans are eligible for federal subsidies – just like workers covered by for-profit plans.  

              “It is a question of fairness,” says Hill. “Multiemployer plans are genuine health care success stories and they deserve the same federal support private insurance companies get.”

              Video says it all...
            •  You miss the point why the Unions are wrong (7+ / 0-)

              For incomes above 200 percent of poverty ($25,000), the subsidy is actually pretty small.  If anything, it replaces the pre-tax treatment people lose when they get policies in the exchanges.  Your Taft Hartley plan is paid with pre-tax dollars.  People buying subsidized coverage through the exchange are using after tax dollars.

              The subsidy is based on the premium of the second lowest cost silver plan in a state.  For a 35 year old making 35k a year, there may not even be a subsidy.  It only kicks in at a higher level once you get above 45 to 50 year old and/or your income drops below 25k a year.

              Guess what--Taft Hartley plans already get that favorable tax treatment.

              By the way your argument that IOW union members are taxed to support this sham but excluded from the subsidies is so self serving.  So are the 45% of the population that gets employer provided coverage.  It is the same tax rate that they pay to subsidize the exchange.

              Do you realize the tax is 3.5% of total plan costs...in order to make sure that if someone loses their job or employer goes bankrupt, they can get coverage.

              Stop looking at your own wallet and look at the moving parts.

              •  Multi Employer Trusts Cover Many Rich and Poor (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Treetrunk

                For an employee working steady for one employer the impact seems minimal.  But that worker has to compete with non-union firms who will send their workers to these "exchanges" for subsidized coverage.  Start the race to the bottom now that Barrack has blown the whistle.
                Now consider the older worker who has become  Xmas help bouncing from one employer to another with no work and overall low income.  With O'care that person will get the 55+ collateral loan called Medicaid.  Just a running tab which must be paid back at death.  O'care is designed to destroy what we have struggled for years to build: a non profit plan which is portable from one job to the next.
                This comes from those Dartmouth assholes who kept single payer from the table.  O'care is a pos.

              •  The Workers Pay in "After Tax" Dollars. (0+ / 0-)

                When unable to work enough hours to keep covered.  You are not getting it.  COBRA contributions and self pay are paid by the worker in the plan from their after tax earnings or savings.

                •  Guess what (4+ / 0-)

                  When an employee of one of the companies that has employer provided coverage drops below fulltime---it is a COBRA event---they too have to pay for coverage with after tax dollars.

                  No difference.

                  •  Cobra is expensive, too. (0+ / 0-)
                    •  COBRA is expensive (0+ / 0-)

                      I agree with you on that.  But then the answer is not to give only union employees special treatment but providing a mechanism that allows any full time employee who slips to part time the ability to access subsidized coverage at an "affordable" level.  

                      In theory, when someone drops to part time, they are no longer offered "affordable" coverage and should be eligible for subsidized exchange coverage (everything is calculated on a monthly basis).  The only problem is that there is no continuity of plan designs (ie deductibles/network/copays etc) when someone jumps from group coverage, individual coverage through the exchange, and then back to group coverage.

                      That is the problem.

            •  Union Plans are not on the exchange, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              johnny wurster

              because the exchanges are for people who don't have employer sponsored plans or small group plans from smaller employers.

              Right man, right job and right time

              by Ianb007 on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 10:00:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Union Families (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Treetrunk

                Don't often have the job security and steady incomes you may imagine.  The multi employer trusts struggle to cover those unable to work enough hours to qualify during downsizing and slow times.  Older workers will be the first thrown under the bus when Lew's O'care starts up.  Many will end up with the collateral loans of Medicaid building as their fortunes churn them in and briefly out of the running tab.
                This POTUS lied to us when He said we could keep our plans.

                •  "You can keep your plan, period." (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Treetrunk, wsexson

                  Video feed

                  The strongly worded resolution says the Affordable Care Act will drive up the costs of union-sponsored health plans to the point that workers and employers are forced to abandon them. Labor unions still support the law's overall goals of reducing health costs and bringing coverage to all Americans, the resolution says, but adds that the law is being implemented in a way that is "highly disruptive" to union health care plans.

                  Some individual unions have complained about the law's impact for months. The resolution marks the first time the nation's largest labor federation has gone on record embracing that view. Unions were among the most enthusiastic backers of the law when it passed in 2010.

                  A labor official told The Associated Press that White House officials had been calling labor leaders for days to urge them not to voice their concerns in the form of a resolution. The official, who wasn't authorized to discuss the conversations publicly and requested anonymity, said many union leaders insisted that they wanted to highlight their concerns.

                  Asked about any efforts to discourage unions from passing the resolution, the White House said in a statement Wednesday night that officials "are in regular contact with a variety of stakeholders, including unions, as part of our efforts to ensure smooth implementation and to improve the law."

                  The AFL-CIO, one of the president's major boosters, approved the resolution just as the administration began rolling out a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign to encourage Americans to sign up for health care exchanges starting Oct. 1.

                  Fool me once.
                  Please indicate who provides your health insurance in your response to add some perspective.
                  •  I am self employed and I have to buy my own. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    contrariandy

                    i have had to go without for the last few years and I will be getting a plan on the California exchange As Soon as Oct 1st rolls around.

                    I undertand the unions concerns.  Instead of whining they ought to be figuring out ways to get more money out of the employers in lieu of health coverage where possible and get their members care on the exchanges to take advantage of the subsidies. They should also look into forming co-ops that can provide insurance on the exchanges.  The ACA has start up money available for this.  I believe a freelancers union in New York has already done this.  There ways for unions to move forward in this new paradigm.  They are just stuck in a pre ACA , 1960 world.

                    Right man, right job and right time

                    by Ianb007 on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 11:12:19 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Taft-Hartley Trust Participant (0+ / 0-)

                      Since 1971.  My Plumbers and Steamfitters Union plan has covered my wife and children.  Our work is tough and wears you down which is why quality health care has always been a high priority in negotiations with the employer group.  But all of us recognize what we really need is single payer like my neighbors in Canada enjoy.
                      Obamacare is just about preserving the 30% deducting insurance rentiers and preserving the price gouging by Pharma and hospitals.
                      I am now paying for Medicare and the retiree group plan which continues the coverage I have had for all these years.  I am not fooled by the "exchanges" and know what the intention is with that.  O'care is just a very expensive detour from single payer.

                      •  Single payer is the best way to go. (0+ / 0-)

                        Whining is not the best strategy to get us there.  Obamacare is not a detour to single payer it's the first step.  From this first step there will be a state run single payer single payer within 5 years.

                        Obamacare is way better than the system that was in place before 2010.  Way better.  Yes there are still private for profit insurance companies in the game but there are also non profits and co-ops.

                        Right man, right job and right time

                        by Ianb007 on Sun Sep 15, 2013 at 11:37:38 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  My non-profit TH plan is not "in the game" (0+ / 0-)

                          Obama sold us out.

                        •  More on Obama's Betrayal of Union Families (0+ / 0-)

                          Staggering...

                          One of the most interesting aspects of this story is what happened behind the scenes. Some unions were agitating for the AFL-CIO to pass a resolution calling for the repeal of Obamacare. President Obama personally intervened to prevent that from happening. At the end of the week, once the AFL-CIO’s quadrennial convention was over, the Obama administration announced that it wouldn’t heed labor’s concerns. Politically speaking, the President won, and the unions lost. … [I]ncreasing calls for Obamacare’s repeal from Democrats’ staunchest allies … spooked the White House, on the eve of the AFL-CIO’s quadrennial convention in Los Angeles. … Wednesday was the last day of the AFL-CIO convention, and the President could evade a politically embarrassing debacle by simply stalling the rumored resolution. … The President’s team swung into action. “White House officials have been calling union leaders about a resolution critical of Obamacare that is set to pass on Wednesday at the AFL-CIO convention,” he reported last week. “Union leaders have been tight-lipped about the calls coming from Washington, but at least one labor official said he understands that the Obama administration has been watching the resolution’s progress and expressing a desire that it not move forward.”**
                          This is how He rolls!
                •  The president did not lie when he said (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  contrariandy, Treetrunk, Faito

                  you can keep your plans.  That's just asinine.

                  Employers, have always had the ability to change the insurance they offer their workers.  NOTHING HAS CHANGED. It's been happening for a while now.  The fact that some employers will find loopholes and ways to save a buck is nothing new.

                  Guess what, many non union families don't have the steady income and job security they would like.

                  Right man, right job and right time

                  by Ianb007 on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 10:46:00 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Interesting (0+ / 0-)

                that in the early 1900s, the AMA  favored  universal government-funded health care, if only briefly.  They were beaten down.

                At that time, the president of the AFL loudly and repeatedly denounced compulsory health insurance as an unnecessary paternalistic reform that would create a system of state supervision over people’s health. The unions apparently worried that a government-based insurance system would weaken unions by usurping their role in providing social benefits. Their central concern was maintaining union strength, which was understandable in a period before collective bargaining was legally sanctioned.

                Also, in the Red Scare, immediately after WWI, when the government attempted to root out the last vestiges of radicalism, opponents of compulsory health insurance associated it with Bolshevism and buried it in an avalanche of anti-Communist rhetoric. (Sounds familiar.)

    •  Agreed. (0+ / 0-)

      The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

      by magnetics on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 08:43:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Plenty of disgrace in ACA to go around. (0+ / 0-)

      It's got plenty of good in it -- certainly plenty of not really horrible and improves on what we've got now, but...

      It makes me think of a cancer medication that kills the cancer but takes you with it.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Sun Sep 15, 2013 at 02:27:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't employers already get a tax credit for (0+ / 0-)

    providing health insurance?  In other words, is that $10,000 really $10,000, or is it less since there's a tax credit to be figured in?

    What I'm saying is, do the workers really need that tax credit to help finance a good plan, or is the employer already getting that tax credit, so there's help financing the plan already?

  •  And who is in favor of this? n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  This resolution is so pathetic (5+ / 0-)

    The "tax credits" they are referring to are the premium subsidies that individuals or families without employer provided coverage get when they get coverage through the exchanges.  

    Guess what; a person who is getting coverage through the exchange is not getting a tax deduction for premium payments, while Taft Hartley and employer provided coverage gets 100% tax free treatment.  

    A person has to pay federal tax, state tax and FICA tax before they get coverage through the exchange.  And if they are self employed or on a 1099 basis they have to pay for both sides of the FICA tax.  Except for people at the lowest income levels (ie 200% of poverty)The tax credits through the exchange barely pay for the tax benefits people get through employer or union provided coverage.  

    I'm all for Unions, but this resolution is horrible and so self centered.  All it does is give the Right Wing ammunition to scream about the "train wreck" that HCR is not.  Unions argue about how everyone needs a "level" playing field (I have no problem with that), then they go out and complain because they can't tilt it in their favor.

  •  Seriously? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Treetrunk

    Unions need to get on message here.

  •  The AFL-CIO is just now noticing that... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Treetrunk

    the 1994 Republican health insurance plan, concocted in the alchemy lab at the Heritage Foundation, enacted by the Democratic Party without one GOP vote, is screwed up?

    That's why unions are in decline.

    So long as liberals demand a minimum wage that's the best we'll get. Demand a living wage instead ~ The modern Democrat is one who promotes old GOP ideas and calls them progressive in comparison to new GOP ideas.

    by masswaster on Sat Sep 14, 2013 at 11:01:24 PM PDT

    •  There is a pretty good (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      masswaster

      argument to be made for a 'union' overhaul in America. The old union model clearly isn’t working any more, and the current system needs some shaking up — badly. That’s why unions have been trying things like the one-day strikes and worker walk-outs at Walmart and fast food joints.

  •  The unions are right, but they don't go far enough (5+ / 0-)

    There's another New Business Trend(tm) on the horizon.  It's not pretty and it's called the Private Healthcare exchange.  

    The ACA is only one factor in companies deciding to erode or drop medical benefits for employees.  Other factors are the weak economy, the new "global business environment", and most of all, the very weak position of labor in this country.  "Competitive salaries" aren't the necessity they used to be in this new world of "just be glad you have a job".  This isn't just a matter of 10k vs a 2k penalty.  This is the emerging model for American business, in the same way that 401ks replaced pensions.

    Businesses come up with these new trends and they adopt them in waves.  If one didn't know about the business advisory think tanks pushing out these ideas, you'd almost wonder if they had some sort of hive mind, the way they all jump on a trend at once.

    One new trend happening over the year is the way big companies are dropping health benefits for retirees.  The second wave of this has just started, where they are now starting to drop benefits for current employees.

    The way they are doing this is insidious -  they don't just cut off benefits, which would allow the employees to participate in ACA exchanges, they push them into a Private Exchange.  The largest of these seems to be an outfit called Extend Health, operated by Towers Watson, (aka Watson Wyatt), the group that pushed many large companies to dump their pension plans in the 1990s.  

    These employees will get no subsidies, and their healthcare will be subject to all the exemptions from the ACA that big business can negotiate, and there are already quite a few of those.

    The new corporate health insurance scam.

    They claim that whatever the company contributed to medical insurance in the past will be given to employees to purchase health care from these new private exchanges, but since these companies were never required to document their contribution, nobody knows what it really is.

    This is going to leave a huge segment of American workers out of participation in the ACA, and push them into a neo healthcare model which adds yet another middleman to the process.  So the question we need to be asking is not "Will a company dump a 10k contribution in favor of a 2k penalty?", but:

    What are these "private exchanges"?  Who is running them?  What are the advantages to a business for participating in this new model?  Where is the money going?

    And, what's the bottom line for employees pushed into this model?  How many of the protections of the ACA are they doing without, and how affordable is the insurance compared to the public exchange?

    The NY Times article didn't provide the background describing the current environment, but if it had, these labor statements would make even more sense.  

    An Aon Hewitt study of 548 companies covering almost 4 million retirees released last month found that more than 60% of employers are re-evaluating their long-term retiree health strategies because of the healthcare reform law. And of those firms that have decided to make changes for Medicare-eligible retirees, more than 40% will move retirees to a private insurance exchange.

     

    You didn't think the 1% would sit back and not find a way to capitalize on this, did you?
    •  That reminded me of the conservative plan. (0+ / 0-)

      I remember lots of conservatives talking about insurances "competing" with insurances from other states.

      I thought that was kind of sketchy. The comment above is probably what these conservatives were referring to.

      It is a comfort to me that the conservatives were planning to put us on some kind of "exchange" anyway.

      It would have happened eventually, with or without Obamacare.

      •  lol (0+ / 0-)

        Yes, this might have been what they were referring to.  One article I read says that these new groups were formerly referred to as insurance brokerages, and change their names to "exchange" after the ACA.

  •  employer contributions are not taxed as income. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Treetrunk, Justanothernyer, Faito

    Anyone, presumably including union workers, who has employer-based health insurance is not taxed on the employer contributions, thereby receiving a tax subsidy that anyone buying individual insurance doesn't have.  

    Under ACA, individuals buying on the state exchanges will now be eligible for a subsidy based on income level.

    Fair?  Certainly more fair!   If someone who was disadvantaged becomes less disadvantaged are the previously advantaged any less advantaged?  

  •  Too many loopholes in Obamacare (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    splashoil
    But their concerns about the potential for working hours to be eroded to less than 30 per week, and the potential for employers to ditch their health plans have increased.
    Potential. It has already happened. Obamacare unwittingly caused many people to lose their insurance through their employers.

    One could argue that these companies were going to drop health insurance anyway, amid rising health care costs. Yet the loopholes gave them a reason to do it now, when the economy was still recovering.

    I just hope that more companies unionize. That will be the only way to get health insurance in this economy. Yet that won't work for the fast food restaurants and places like Trader Joes and Walmart. That is where boycotts come in, yet it is very difficult for a boycott to work in this sluggish economy.

  •  Union Coverage (0+ / 0-)

    I am a cement mason, And OUR Plan work's like this We contribute x amount, And WE are required so many hours per qtr, The last 4 years Most of us have been ubable to get the hours to keep and maintain our INS. I do work with multi-employers throughout the year, That Money is deducted and if you fall short, oh well, Now then For those who don't know, If you go to Healthcare.Gov you can LIVE CHAT and ask any question, Explain your situation and get answers. Well after chatting, I do qualify to sign up. granted I don't know what My Union is going to do yet. But, I cant speak for those in other Unions across the Country, Only Mine, I am tired of giving thousands to our Ins Carrier and NOT having anything to show. We would love to dump our Plan, And sign up on the Exchange. I would like to hear from those who have Plans like mine and get your input. thanks

    •  That is kind of the nature of true "insurance". (0+ / 0-)
      I am tired of giving thousands to our Ins Carrier and NOT having anything to show.
      Insurance coverage is intended for unexpected, and generally catastrophic, events. True, some health insurance plans (and with the implementation of ACA, all will) have a "prepaid" component - you pay in advance for predictable preventative healthcare so that part isn't actually "insurance" (just a prepayment of services you may or may not use in the end).

      I'm curious, do you regret that your house/apartment hasn't burned down so you "have something to show" for your house or renter's insurance premiums? Would you be happier if you got cancer and heart disease so you could "have something to show" for your health insurance expenditures? Do you hope to get broadsided by a drunk driver so your auto insurance will pay off?

      •  true nature of INS (0+ / 0-)

        Maybe you didn't understand my post, I do NOT have INSURANCE, NONE, I contribute hourly, BUT because work has been slow, I and many others are unable to qualify for our INS. MY plan is based on a certain # of hours per quarter, WE contribute a dollar amount per hour, FOLLOW me? If you do not get the required hours per quarter, NO INSURANCE, The money contributed per hour, GOES to the INS Carrier, I GET NO INSURANCE, GET IT??, BTW, I am also a Fireman!!

        •  True Nature (0+ / 0-)

          So maybe You understand my situation, You work many hours, The money gets contributed, But you fall short of what is required, So what can and does happen, You contribute $$$ to the INS Carrier, But because you did not meet the requirement (hours) What you "Don't have to show" so to speak is Actual Insurance Coverage, NONE, ZIP, NADA. That is what I meant.

          •  Sorry, nope I didn't get that... (0+ / 0-)

            ...because I misread your comment -- perhaps because reality is so bizarre in this case.

            That's a bizarre situation where you pay for insurance but you don't actually receive coverage unless you work some number of hours (I presume that's a proxy for contributing some minimum amount of money to the insurance pools).

            I'm curious why this is "acceptable" to the other members of your union. Surely there must be a better way (albeit, one where you may have to "top off" the premiums out of your own pocket if you can afford it). This sounds like a subsidy to the members who can for some reason find enough work to meet the "minimum hours worked" -- why should you pay for their insurance with no benefit to yourself?

            •  Willr (0+ / 0-)

              First, I didn't mean to come off as an A$$ whole, Not my intention, Prior to the ACA, There wasnt to many Policies to pick from. When work is Good, No problem Getting the Hours, But when work is slow, WE cant do it, AND no it is not exceptable, WE have been screaming for years!! As for out of Pocket, WE can only self pay once per year. Exactly, The Plan was good during Normal Work times, But never took into consideration when times get slow. So as I said, For us, The exchange is a better option. My plan requires 800 hours per year, 200 per qtr, to Maintain coverage, here is an example, Now let's say it is a slow year, I work 175 hours each quarter, 700 total, Sorry, NO INS, And to frickin ice the cake, To reinstate, IF I do not get 273hrs that is an extra 73 hours the following quarter,  Sorry, NO INS. The INS dictates this. Many aspects just happened to show up. Also, that many hours, 700 x hrly. rate of Contribition= $$$$, Now then just to add this, Next time anyone complains why a UNION rejects a raise in Contribution to Health ans Welfare, It is because of BULLSH&T like this, This is the Crap that NEVER, NEVER gets reported by the media.

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