From THE WALL STREET JOURNAL:
By JANET ADAMY and MELANIE TROTTMAN
Labor unions enthusiastically backed the Obama administration’s health-care overhaul when it was up for debate. Now that the law is rolling out, some are turning sour.
Union leaders say many of the law’s requirements will drive up the costs for their health-care plans and make unionized workers less competitive. Among other things, the law eliminates the caps on medical benefits and prescription drugs used as cost-containment measures in many health-care plans. It also allows children to stay on their parents’ plans until they turn 26.
To offset that, the nation’s largest labor groups want their lower-paid members to be able to get federal insurance subsidies while remaining on their plans. In the law, these subsidies were designed only for low-income workers without employer coverage as a way to help them buy private insurance.
In early talks, the Obama administration dismissed the idea of applying the subsidies to people in union-sponsored plans, according to officials from the trade group, the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans, that represents these insurance plans. Contacted for this article, Obama administration officials said the issue is subject to regulations still being written.
More at the link.
Some of us would call this karmic justice: the unions helped to force Obaminablecare on the public, and now the unions are finding out that, amazingly enough, there is no free ride, that their own health care plans will cost more, just like everybody else’s, and just might cost unionized workers their jobs.
It didn’t take a rocket scientist — or a PhD in economics — to understand that a mandatory-participation health care plan which eliminated obvious cost-containment provisions such as lifetime benefit caps and non-coverage for pre-existing conditions would increase the costs that the health insurance companies would have to bear. Nor did it take a brain surgeon to understand that if the outgoing costs to health insurers were going to be increased, the premiums that they would have to charge their customers would have to increase as well. Nor should it have required a conservative to understand that adding thirty or forty million people who couldn’t afford to pay for health insurance themselves would wind up costing taxpayers and people who already paid for their health insurance more money . . . but apparently it did. Of course, we told them so, all along, but they weren’t willing to listen.
Your Editor has said it many times before: if a liberal really understood economics, he wouldn’t be a liberal. And now we have the spectacle of some of the most diligent supporters of the wholly-misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act bemoaning the higher costs imposed on workers due to the law they supported. Did they somehow think that this wasn’t going to cost anything? Are they really that stupid?
The Obama administration says its hands were tied by the way Congress wrote the law. Officials said the administration tried to mitigate the impact. Families that can’t get coverage because of the glitch will not face a tax penalty for remaining uninsured, the IRS rules said.
Your Editor is unsure how the Infernal Revenue Service can just decide to treat people differently under the laws, but supposes that wouldn’t bother the Obama Administration in the least. The Republicans in Congress should absolutely refuse to pass any legislation which would change the law to help those union members. The changes the unions want would increase government spending on health care, would create yet another ever-growing entitlement, at a time when we have trillion-dollar annual deficits and a national debt of over 100% of our yearly gross domestic product, and growing all the time.
But the fact that the very people who foisted this terrible law on us in the first place will be the ones who will suffer the most from it does not displease me in the least.