You know a policy is horrible when even your staunchest ally threatens a revolt over it, but that's the case now with some major labor unions and Democrats over Obamacare. Welcome to our world — that is to say, the Real Word — Mr. Labor Union Boss. As it turns out, there are several problems with Obamacare union leaders are just now realizing, despite warnings for years. Nothing like an actual hit in the wallet — not liberal Utopian theory — to gobsmack you in the head and kick you in the rear simultaneously. First, union leaders are seeing the real possibility of up to 20 million of their members losing their employer provided health insurance plans.
Second, smaller companies, that partner with unions to provide health insurance already more expensive than traditional employer-only provided insurance, are seeing their premiums balloon because of Obamacare mandates on insurance policies. Unions fear these plans will have to be dropped and force employees into the infamous state exchanges. However, while Obamacare provides for subsidies to some to buy into a plan offered through an exchange, it does not provide such subsidies for union members. (In a case of be care for which you ask, maybe the unions should've read the bill. In a delightful irony, an institution of the left now complains of "unintended consequences.")
The third union concern is, ironically, survival. If members can access health insurance without the union, then why join? It seems the Obama administration has a knack for angering its friends as well as its "enemies."
Some labor unions that enthusiastically backed President Barack Obama's health care overhaul are now frustrated and angry, fearful that it will jeopardize benefits for millions of their members.
Union leaders warn that unless the problem is fixed, there could be consequences for Democrats facing re-election next year.
"It makes an untruth out of what the president said — that if you like your insurance, you could keep it," said Joe Hansen, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. "That is not going to be true for millions of workers now." ...
But Obama's Affordable Care Act has added to that cost — for the unions' and other plans — by requiring health plans to cover dependents up to age 26, eliminate annual or lifetime coverage limits and extend coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
"We're concerned that employers will be increasingly tempted to drop coverage through our plans and let our members fend for themselves on the health exchanges," said David Treanor, director of health care initiatives at the Operating Engineers union.
Workers seeking coverage in the state-based marketplaces, known as exchanges, can qualify for subsidies, determined by a sliding scale based on income. By contrast, the new law does not allow workers in the union plans to receive similar subsidies.
Bob Laszewski, a health care industry consultant, said the real fear among unions is that "a lot of these labor contracts are very expensive, and now employers are going to have an alternative to very expensive labor health benefits."
"If the workers can get benefits that are as good through Obamacare in the exchanges, then why do you need the union?" Laszewski said. "In my mind, what the unions are fearing is that workers for the first time can get very good health benefits for a subsidized cost someplace other than the employer."
Now, the chief of the firefighters union says "anxiety" over the law has transformed into "anger" that could spill into the 2014 elections. The United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers last month called for "repeal or complete reform" of Obamacare.
The only thing worse than liberalism is incompetent liberalism. In its rush to ram through Obamacare, congressional liberals and the president didn't even look after their friends. No doubt, now, they will look to a fix that they know will be blocked by congressional conservatives and use that for political purposes to placate their union allies. Here's hoping (but not expecting) the unions, fooled once, won't get fooled again.