Now Big Labor Gets a ‘Carve Out’ from Health Plan Excise Tax

Should have seen it coming.

From National Journal, Congress Daily (subscription), “Unions Tentatively Strike A Deal Regarding Excise Tax.”

Unions tentatively struck a deal Tuesday to exempt collectively bargained healthcare plans from a tax on high-cost plans expected to be used to help raise revenue for the healthcare overhaul.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern and United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger met with House Speaker Pelosi Tuesday, a day after labor leaders met at the White House to express their opposition to the excise tax.

So that’s why Andy Stern has gone to the White House so often. He keeps getting rewarded for the visits.

Supporters of the government health-care bills will sell union acquiescence to a modified excise tax as a political victory, moving the legislation closer to passage. But it could very well do the opposite. A union carve-out will reinforce the public’s perception that the health care bill isn’t about improving individual coverage, but is rather is a cynical effort expand government control of care at any cost. If supporters have to gut one provision at the demands of a special interest, this time labor, then gut away! As long as it passes.

For a roundup of this news and other developments, see Kaiser Health News, “‘Cadillac’ Tax Deal In The Work.”

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