Health Care: Now A Vehicle to Promote Unionization?

Mickey Kaus, a Democrat who supports health care reform, asks, “Is Health Care Reform Now a Vehicle to Promote Unionization?

It’s one thing to delay until 2018 the tax on “Cadillac” health plans for existing union-negotiated plans, to let the parties rejigger the balance between wages and benefits. That’s a standard “grandfather” clause, letting people whose existing arrangements are disrupted keep them going for a while (though why it should apply only to union pay packages is a good question).

But it’s another thing to extend this union loophole to collective bargaining agreements that haven’t been negotiated yet, or to not-yet unionized firms that organize and then tap into existing collectively bargaining benefit arrangements. That would in effect give workers a tax bonus if they should organize between now and 2018. The government might as well mail a “first time union member” check of $3,000 to every American who successfully unionizes his workplace. As IBD notes, that would be a pretty good substitute for the stalled “card check” legislation, which would try to spur organizing by letting unions avoid a secret ballot (and call in federal arbitrators to set wages).

Looks like the Haiti earthquake has pushed health care off the Sunday news talk shows.

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