The White House, the Democratic congressional leaders, and representatives of Big Labor have reached an agreement to give the unions broad exemptions from the excise tax on health care plans.
Wall Street Journal’s account cuts right to the chase. From “Unions Cut Special Deal on Health Taxes“:
Democratic negotiators acceded to union demands for a scaled-back tax on high-end health-insurance plans, exempting union contracts from the tax until 2018, five years beyond the start date for other workers.
The deal helped Democrats clear a key hurdle, but the break for organized labor added to the pressure to find new revenue to pay for their health bill, which is designed to give coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans. Negotiators were considering increasing the financial hit on drug makers, nursing homes and medical-device makers, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Apparently union backing is seen as so critical to passage that everyone else is supposed to carry their weight. But we’d count “drug makers, nursing homes and medical-device makers” as more important to the quality of the U.S. health care system than political clout of the SEIU, UAW or AFL-CIO.
- New York Daily News, “White House entices Big Labor to back struggling health care reform legislation“
- Seattle Times, “Obama, unions agree to modify high-cost health-benefit tax“
- New York Times, “Accord Reached on Insurance Tax for Costly Plans“
- Fox News (blog), “Labor Effusive With Praise for Excise Tax Deal“
- The Hill, “White House, Dem leaders give concessions to win labor’s support“
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