Monday, September 2, 2013

Today's Obamacare--Why Would Unions Support the Affordable Care Act?

Happy Labor Day.  It's just one month until the health care exchanges are scheduled to launch.  Most people come to blogs looking for answers, today I only offer a question.  Maybe you can help me out.

As I wrote the Small Business Guide to Obamacare, a question that kept popping into my head was why would any union support this law?  The health benefit plans that union and government workers enjoy here in Michigan go far beyond anything I would expect the government to be able to provide.  Low or non-existent co-pays, low out of pocket maximums, and generous coverages and treatments, what's not to like?  Why mess with a good thing?

The Affordable Care Act, at its core, is supposed to be about pressuring everyone to have roughly the same coverage.  If it weren't for the exemptions and delays, we would be on track to all have the same coverage.  Again, if you have great coverage why would you want "Medicaid for everyone."

The two biggest factors that could limit union benefit packages are:

  • The Cadillac tax, which imposes a hefty penalty on expensive healthcare policies.  If the limits are not raised, the most likely people to have to pay the Cadillac tax are union employers.  Those employers would presumably factor the tax into their overall compensation calculations, meaning employees would take a hit.
  • HHS can determine what policies cover.  If a procedure costs too much, the HHS secretary can limit coverage in many situations. 

The only thing I can think of is that if health insurance is granted as a right to everyone, then unions won't have to negotiate that point in future contracts.  They could direct their energy to other benefits and wages.  But they fought so long for so hard to get the policies they have, it seems crazy to me to give it up.

So if anyone has any ideas, we'd love to hear them.  Feel free to email or post a comment below.

Now to Today's Obamacare headlines:

Rightwing Rants

Sen. Cruz vows to continue Obamacare opposition.

Leftwing business owner becomes Obamacare opponent.

Obamacare good for business--the Obamacare consulting business.

Obamacare was sold on deceptive terms.

Aetna withdraws from another exchange, is that a trend?

Obamacare benefits are not free.

Republican lawmakers face litmus test on whether they accept Obamacare money.

Texas Republicans don't like Obamacare.

Obamacare will be the unaffordable care act.

Nebraska health insurance rates to spike.

Happy hour:  testing Obamacare.

Leftwing Cheerleading

Insurance rates will not spike as much as Georgia insurance commissioner expects.

Don't believe the polls, PPACA will be popular.

Obamacare is great for everybody, even business.

Hard News

One million New Jersey residents expected to enroll in Medicaid and exchanges.

States market Obamacare exchanges under other names.

Michigan begins enrollment efforts.

Hundreds rally in Wilmington to oppose Obamacare.

For Industry Insiders

Well, what do you know, there's nothing out there.  I guess the insurance pros get the weekend off.

Cheers, everyone, have a great weekend.

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