Feb. 01--Unions and liberal "advocacy" groups were early and frequent supporters of President Obama's plan to overhaul the nation's health insurance system three years ago.
Now some union leaders fear that Obamacare will make unionized workers less competitive by driving up the costs for health benefits. That's because Obamacare mandates such provisions as an end to caps on medical benefits and prescription drugs, and requires coverage of "children" until age 26, the Wall Street Journal reported.
So some unions want the subsidies offered in the act only to low-income people without employer coverage to low-wage workers in union plans as well.
"We are going back to the administration to say that this is not acceptable," said Ken Hall, general secretary-treasurer for the Teamsters.
The Teamsters have 1.6 million members and dependents in health care plans. Other unions involved in the push include the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, and Unite Here, which represents service and other workers.
John Wilhelm, chairman of Unite Here Health, the insurance plan for 260,000 union workers, also wants such a subsidy. He told the Journal that he stood next to President Obama at a campaign rally in 2008.
"I heard him say, 'If you like your health plan, you can keep it'," Wilhelm said. "If I'm wrong, and the president does not intend to keep his word, I would have severe second thoughts about the law."
The idea of taxpayers subsidizing what are often excellent health insurance plans is galling.
But under Obamacare, even upper middle-class families are eligible for tax credits to offset the cost of private insurance. Taxpayers will hand out credits to a family of four that earned as much as $92,200 last year.
These subsidies are a brand-new entitlement on top of the umpteen other entitlements in the federal budget that helped drive annual federal deficits past the $1 trillion mark in 2008.
This cannot continue much longer.
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