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White House Considers Awarding Obamacare Subsidies, Intended For The Uninsured, To Labor Unions

By Avik Roy

A few weeks ago, I discussed the fact that labor unions have been increasingly vocal about their objections to certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Obamacare will “shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class,” wrote three labor leaders in July. Now, according to a report from InsideHealthPolicy, the Obama administration is considering offering insurance subsidies—intended for the uninsured—to labor union members who already have employer-sponsored coverage.

Unions seek additional subsidies for multi-employer plans

The issue at hand is the way Obamacare affects multi-employer health plans, also known as Taft-Hartley plans. These plans consist of employer-sponsored health insurance that is arranged between a labor union in a particular industry, such as restaurants, and small employers in that sector. Approximately 20 million workers in the United States are covered under such arrangements, including 800,000 of the 1.3 million members of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, whose leader, Joseph Hansen, signed the letter I described above.

Workers with employer-sponsored coverage don’t qualify for subsidized coverage on Obamacare’s insurance exchanges. Those subsidies are designed for low-income people who aren’t offered coverage from the employers, and have to shop for insurance on their own. But the labor union leaders want those subsidies to also apply to their members with employer-sponsored coverage, even though they already get those benefits tax-free due to the employer tax exclusion for health insurance.

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It’s really hard to grasp how so many people cannot see why the Affordable Care Act is such a scam. What kind of well designed “affordable” program requires handing out tax payer funded subsidies from one group to another in order to make it “affordable”. Now labor unions who want in on the subsidies too? Its simply wealth redistribution. Maybe now the public will realize what defund Obamacare is all about.

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