KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Why Unions Dislike Obamacare

Several media outlets explore the reasons for the AFL-CIO's criticism of the health care law this week, including concerns about the viability of multi-employer plans which insure about 20 million people and the impact of a "Cadillac tax" starting in 2018 on the most generous plans that may affect some unions’ coverage.

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Unfinished Business: Unions Press For Obamacare Changes
The AFL-CIO wound up passing a watered-down version of a resolution affirming what individual labor groups have been complaining about for nearly a year: Higher costs related to the Affordable Care Act could force millions of their members to lose coverage under union-sponsored health-care plans. The resolution underscored the extent to which organized labor is trying to reach a peaceful resolution with the Obama administration, which wants to smooth out the wrinkles without a messy fight (Trottman, 9/12).

Politico: AFL-CIO Demands Changes To Obamacare
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said the resolution raises the issue of whether "low- and moderate-income union members and their collectively bargained health care plans will be able to benefit from the same premium support that big insurance companies will receive and if they will have to pay fees to subsidize big insurance companies," a statement on the AFL-CIO site reads. "There also are concerns that smaller employers will be able to get away with taking health care away from workers while paying no penalty" (Norman, 9/12).

Fox News: Republicans Move To Halt Obamacare 'Bailout' For Angry Unions
Capitol Hill Republicans are trying to stop the Obama administration from offering labor unions a sweetheart deal on ObamaCare, as the White House tries to quell a simmering rebellion from Big Labor over the health care law. President Obama and White House officials reportedly have called union leaders to try and persuade them to tone down their complaints, pledging an accommodation. The AFL-CIO, though, on Wednesday approved a resolution anyway calling the law "highly disruptive" to union plans (Fox News, 9/12).

Politico: 5 Questions About The Unions’ Beef With Obamacare
Key parts of organized labor have a case of buyer’s remorse over Obamacare and they’re letting everyone know about it. The AFL-CIO at its convention this week passed a resolution calling President Barack Obama's health law "highly disruptive" to some union insurance plans, "substantially changing the coverage available for millions of covered employees and their families." The labor federation did back the sweeping goals of Obamacare — covering people and restraining costs —but that wasn’t the part of the message that resonated politically (Norman, 6/12).

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