March 10 2014

Union Slams ObamaCare

Patrice J. Lee

When criticism comes from your opposition, you will easily reject it. When criticism comes from a non-partisan source, you can ignore it or explain it away. When criticism comes from your allies, it’s time to take heed.

Unite Here, a national hospitality workers union, is releasing a report that finds ObamaCare will slam workers with a cut to wages, a cut to hours, and a cut to healthcare access. They predict that health care coverage for hospitality workers will suffer as healthcare spirals downward. The question is how will President Obama respond to this critical report from his own allies.

Entitled “The Irony of Obamacare: Making Inequality Worse,” this Unite Now report posits that the President’s signature legislation poses “one of the most immediate challenges to redressing inequality.” The unintended consequences include: transferring a trillion dollars in wealth to commercial insurance companies through government subsidies, strangling fair competition by blocking many non-profit health funds from competing for the law’s proposed trillion dollars in subsidies, incentivizing employers to cut workers’ hours below the 30-hour per week threshold for “full time” work, and forcing low-wage service industry employees to spend $2.00, $3.00 or even $5.00 an hour of their pay to buy similar coverage.

As this report confirms, when government meddles with the market, the market responds. Unfortunately, Americans workers take the hit to their wallets and their freedom.

The Washington Examiner reports:

Based on government and private reports, polling and statements from administration officials, the report, to be sent to pro-union members in Congress, charges that low-wage workers are taking the hit under Obamacare, while wealthy insurance companies fatten up on government subsidies.

Union head Donald "D." Taylor, in a note also being sent to Congress, demands changes and admits to being reluctant to bash a president his union supported.

“Believe me; I enter this entire debate about the consequences of the ACA with a deep reluctance,” he wrote. “Unite Here was the first union to endorse then-Senator Obama. We support the addition of health care to millions of Americans. Yet facts are facts, and Obamacare will cost our members the equivalent of a significant pay cut to keep their hard-won benefits.”

 “The information addresses the very unfortunate irony of Obamacare,” Taylor said in his letter about the report. “Namely, that it will inevitably lead to the destruction of the health care plans we were promised we could keep. And, as a result, it will lead to greater income inequality for the very segment of the population Obamacare should want to help most.”

Taylor also suggested that Democrats in Washington are telling unions to stop griping about the impact of Obamacare on their members. He quoted a Senate aide saying, “Labor needs to regress to the mean.” Said Taylor: “In other words, roll back what you have and take one for the team. Ironic, given that Congress and the president carved out an exemption for staffers on the ACA. We cannot sit idly by as the politicians carve up our health plans while they carve out exceptions for themselves and every special interest feeding at the trough in Washington.”

What this demonstrates is the pervasiveness of what we refer to as cronyism. Congress and the Administration make deals that benefit specific companies, organizations, and industries at the expense of taxpayers. Unions are upset that they didn’t get theirs when deals were doled out, despite their efforts in rallying workers to support President Obama and his healthcare reform campaign.

Is it possible that if Unite Here had been given (promised) carve outs and sweetheart deals like Congressional staffers, they wouldn’t be speaking out against ObamaCare? Absolutely! This is not the first time unions have whined about not being protected from ObamaCare.

And we’ll add that it’s unfair taxpayers should be funding special deals or exemptions, while we bear the full brunt of ObamaCare’s cost. What about the millions of Americans who have lost their healthcare coverage because of ObamaCare? Who is speaking out on their behalf? Unfortunately, it’s not their Democratic representatives in Congress.

Democratic leadership has been hushing up supporters that are not pleased with the President’s policies. We’ve heard similar reports about liberal nonprofit groups being told to stay mum about the new IRS rules limiting political activity.

So I applaud this union leader for being courageous enough to stand up for American workers and for the truth. Perhaps, if enough of the President’s ardent supporters step forward and join the chorus of Americans decrying the harm of ObamaCare, Congress will have to act.

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