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Wilkow Breaks Down Unions' Frustration With Obamacare Implementation

Wilkow Breaks Down Unions' Frustration With Obamacare Implementation

As the implementation of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare reform law continues to struggle, the enthusiasm of Obamacare's supporters has begun to wane and frustration grown. After announcing last week that penalties for companies failing to comply with the law will be delayed by a year, The Wall Street Journal reports that leaders from three major American unions (including the Teamsters) have sent a scathing letter to Democrat leaders in Congress claiming that as the law is now, it will “destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.”

The letter reads:

We have been strong supporters of the notion that all Americans should have access to quality, affordable health care. We have also been strong supporters of you. In campaign after campaign we have put boots on the ground, gone door-to-door to get out the vote, run phone banks and raised money to secure this vision.

Now this vision has come back to haunt us.

Since the ACA was enacted, we have been bringing our deep concerns to the Administration, seeking reasonable regulatory interpretations to the statute that would help prevent the destruction of non-profit health plans. As you both know first-hand, our persuasive arguments have been disregarded and met with a stone wall by the White House and the pertinent agencies.

The unions' concern centers around Obamacare’s employer mandate and whether it will incentivizes smaller companies to shift their workers to part-time status, because employers are not required to provide health coverage to part-time workers. Forbes's Avik Roy questions why union leaders did not realize this back in 2009:

What surprises me about this is that union leaders are pretty strategic when it comes to employee benefits. It was obvious in 2009 that Obamacare’s employer mandate would incentivize this shift. Why didn’t labor unions fight it back then?

The labor bosses are also unhappy, because of the way Obamacare affects multi-employer health plans. Multi-employer plans, also called Taft-Hartley plans, are health insurance benefits typically arranged between a labor union in a particular industry, such as restaurants, and small employers in that industry. About 20 million workers are covered by these plans; 800,000 of Joseph Hansen’s 1.3 million UFCW members are covered this way.

Roy joined "Wilkow!" Friday to discuss union frustration with Obamacare right now and the realities of their demands.

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