Feb 06, 2014 - 8:45am

Hacked Off About Healthcare Reform

Vice President, Labor Policy

Bloomberg - O'Sullivan.JPG

Terry O'Sullivan
Terry O' Sullivan, president of the Laborers' International Union of North America (Photo: Andrew Harrer for Bloomberg)

Crossposted from the Workforce Freedom Initiative blog.

When it comes to the so-called Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, the news has generally been less than positive, to put it mildly.  Even the law’s namesake admitted that his Administration ‘screwed up’ its roll out.  But an unlikely source of criticism has come from a group that campaigned fiercely for the law’s passage — organized labor.  Now that Obamacare is starting to take effect, labor leaders are suddenly realizing that it may jeopardize their health plans along with everyone else’s, and they are none too happy about it. 

Most recently, a pair of national union presidents wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to let the pair know that unions are “bitterly disappointed” in the law that has become something akin to a Lernaean Hydra

The General President of the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA), Terry O’Sullivan, and General President of UniteHere, Donald Taylor, issued their scathing condemnation of Obamacare after three years of pleading with the administration to reverse the law’s impact on union health plans through regulatory fixes. Their letter speaks for itself:

“The ACA, as implemented, undermines fair marketplace competition in the health care industry…. The temptation for employers to drop coverage that we were promised we could keep will be overwhelming. Nothing to date addresses this fundamental inequity in the ACA.

“Once we realized the ACA would not let us keep the health care we had, we spent three years presenting the Administration with reasonable fixes to the ACA’s problems. All of them were rejected and the proposed regulations offer virtually no assistance toward any of these solutions.

“We were bitterly disappointed upon reading the proposed regulations put forward by the Administration.  If the Administration honestly thinks that these proposed rules are responsive to our concerns, they were not listening or they simply did not care…. It would be a sad irony indeed if the signature legislative accomplishment of an Administration committed to reducing income inequality cut living standards for middle income and low wage workers.”

It is hard to argue with that conclusion. Indeed, it would be ironic that unions that so vociferously supported the ACA’s passage, not to mention the election and reelection of the Congress and Administration that concocted it, would be so greatly harmed by its implementation. 

As we have come to learn, “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” turned out to be what one publication called the “Lie of the Year.”  It’s becoming clear that unions are not immune to the results of this deception.  

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About the Author

About the Author

Sean P. Redmond
Vice President, Labor Policy

Sean P. Redmond is Vice President, Labor Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.