Obamacare Union Subsidies Debated, Labor Wants Changes

As Obamacare edges closer to full implementation in the US, labor union subsidies are being eyed speculatively as the workplace force is said to be wary about the law’s effect on union members.

On August 21, HuffPo quoted the Nevada AFL-CIO on Obamacare union subsidies, referencing a resolution in which the chapter rebuked the Affordable Care Act for its potential deleterious effects on labor:

“[O]ur union members and their families originally offered strong political and moral support for the promise of the Affordable Care Act because it would expand health care coverage for more Americans,… the Administration has postured on proposals to address the problem, but no proposal to date will actually solve the problem. Our health plans only get worse.”

The Obamacare union subsidies debate goes back to Taft-Hartley plans, and the possibility that such coverage is handled punitively under the provisions of ACTA.

Tim Schlittner, a UFCW spokesman, was quoted as saying that the issue of being disloyal to Obamacare comes second to the concerns of union members, who may be impacted by a shifting market when the law comes into effect:

“Our responsibility is not to the political left or right, it’s to our members… As far as this law is concerned, we think if it’s not fixed, it could cause harm to our members who’ve bargained for health care. These are not rich people, they’re workers in grocery stores.”

The right-leaning American Spectator opined that Obamacare union subsidies amount to “double dipping,” adding that conservatives have long speculated labor will lean on Obama ahead of mid-term elections:

“[Unions] would soon demand a new concession relating to the health care law in return for union support in the 2014 midterms. And, sure enough, the bosses eventually made it known that they want the Obama administration to give their unions special subsidies to which they are not entitled under the ‘Affordable Care Act.’ This concession, which the President has no authority to grant, would provide union members with a double subsidy.”

The piece goes on to charge that Obamacare could inherently favor its left-wing allies to reward early and consistent support of the plan.

On the other side of the spectrum, union leaders say that proposed measures are needed to level the playing field. Unite Now’s D. Taylor told The Hill that non-profit union plans simply can’t compete with the mandate:

“… we have a scenario set up that ObamaCare has turned all the money over to the for-profit plans and the nonprofit plans will fade away.”

In addition to Obamacare union subsidies, labor believes dropping full-time work requirements to 30 hours will limit impact on union healthcare plans.