Obamacare Costs Spark Union Contract Problems, Labor Donations To Republicans Increase

Obamacare costs are “complicating” labor unions during contract negotiations. Organized labor was initially an outspoken supporter of the Affordable Care Act, but times appear to be changing. Employers and unions are clashing over the payment of future costs of worker healthcare and covering the expense of new mandates created by the law, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Health insurance costs are expected to increase for millions of American workers due to the tune of five to 12.5 percent, due to Obamacare, the newspaper report also noted. Daniel Murphy, a New York lawyer who frequently represents employers during labor talks said, “It’s been a challenge for even some of the stronger unions to maintain the quality health plans that they have offered over the years.”

Some organized labor union officials are now stating publicly that they feel as if they were “bamboozled” by the Obama administration in order to utter support for the Affordable Care Act. Laborer’s International Union of North America lawyer Jim Ray said, “When we first supported the calls for healthcare reform, we thought it was going to bring costs down.” According to Ray, the construction workers he represents have experienced five to 10 percent increases in insurance costs along with lower wages to compensate for the employer contribution to the plans.

A union for airline flight attendants in Alaska has reached an impasse with management over claims that the company has not provided “sufficient protection” from “skyrocketing costs” sparked by Obamacare. Similar battles are going on with transit workers in Philadelphia, and service staff in Las Vegas.

Labor unions, which traditionally donate to and support Democratic candidates, are now throwing their collective weight behind Republicans for the November mid-term elections, according to a Washington Post report.

The Affordable Care Act was supposed to create portable and inexpensive health insurance for those who could not get such coverage through an employer or who had been denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition. The Laborer’s International Union recently endorsed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and donated $300,000 to the Republican Governors Association. Christie may be speaking at a union convention later this summer.

Unite Here union president Donald Taylor says the chance in political persuasion may be a case of organized labor members not exactly getting behind Republicans but restricting support from Democrats. Taylor added, “You can’t just order people to do stuff. If their health plans get wrecked why would they go campaign for the folks responsible for wrecking their healthcare?”

Individual stories regarding the expense of health care and policy loss after Obamacare was implemented vary, but the portable, non-employer coverage my family held prior to Obamacare disappeared after the law was passed. It was replaced with a policy with a $1,000 per month price tag, with a possible subsidy taking it back to the premium level we once enjoyed. The subsidy will go away when my daughter turns 26, or gets married, which she will next month. The deductible on our old policy was $2,500, it is now $12,500.

Has your health care coverage experience been a positive or negative once since the implementation of Obamacare?

[Image Via: Metro]