Reality Bites… Union Leaders Discover They Were Lied to and Millions of Members Will Lose Health Insurance
Barack Obama repeatedly told the American public and his union supporters,
“Nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change your coverage or your doctor.”
What a joke.
When President Barack Obama pushed his health care overhaul plan through Congress, he counted labor unions among his strongest supporters.
But some unions leaders have grown frustrated and angry about what they say are unexpected consequences of the new law — problems that they say could jeopardize the health benefits offered to millions of their members.
The issue could create a political headache next year for Democrats facing re-election if disgruntled union members believe the Obama administration and Congress aren’t working to fix the problem.
“It makes an untruth out of what the president said, that if you like your insurance, you could keep it,” said Joe Hansen, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. “That is not going to be true for millions of workers now.”
The problem lies in the unique multiemployer health plans that cover unionized workers in retail, construction, transportation and other industries with seasonal or temporary employment. Known as Taft-Hartley plans, they are jointly administered by unions and smaller employers that pool resources to offer more than 20 million workers and family members continuous coverage, even during times of unemployment.
The union plans were already more costly to run than traditional single-employer health plans. The Affordable Care Act has added to that cost — for the unions’ and other plans — by requiring health plans to cover dependents up to age 26, eliminate annual or lifetime coverage limits and extend coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
“We’re concerned that employers will be increasingly tempted to drop coverage through our plans and let our members fend for themselves on the health exchanges,” said David Treanor, director of health care initiatives at the Operating Engineers union.
And now thanks to Obama and union leadership – millions of union members will lose their healther insurance.