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UNITE HERE! Prez to Dems: ‘Stop Taxing our Health Plan!’

November 11, 2014
By Marc Bussanich

New York, NY—Donald Taylor, UNITEHERE!’s president, said that if the Democrats are going to compromise on ObamaCare to prevent its repeal when Republicans take over the Senate in January then they should stop taxing organized labor’s multi-employer funds, known as Taft-Hartley health funds, as a compromise with organized labor.

Mr. Taylor met with Mayor Bill de Blasio at City Hall on Monday afternoon and we had the opportunity to interview him after the meeting. In the accompanying video, we asked Mr. Taylor what has been the impact on the union’s multi-employer health funds since labor leaders met with President Barack Obama back in January to try to stop their plans from being overly taxed.

“For the first time ever our Taft-Hartley plans got taxed. Also, self-funded plans, like union plans, really become unaffordable under ObamaCare because all the subsidies go to the for-profit insurance companies which were the cause of the problem in the first place,” said Taylor.

UNITE HERE! isn’t the only major union to criticize ObamaCare. The Laborers’ International Union of North America, along with UNITE HERE!, told the Washington Post in January they feel they have been betrayed by the Obama Administration because while the union plans are being taxed, they aren’t getting the subsidies that are going to private insurers competing on the health exchanges nationwide.

Taylor noted that the administration’s refusal to make changes is turning out to be the union’s worst nightmare.

“This is as bad as we thought it was going to be, that’s why we think there has to be fixes. The administration has all kinds of fixes for the employers and the for-profits, but not for the union health plans like ours,” Taylor said.

Republicans and conservative publications like the National Review have used unions’ criticisms of ObamaCare to argue for its repeal. But Taylor said that while there are problems with ObamaCare, it has helped more Americans to have access to affordable health care.

“We’re very happy that people are getting insurance for the first time and there’s an expansion of Medicaid too. But there are problems with it and they need to be fixed.”

Asked about what changes he would like to see by the time of the 2016 elections.

“It’s very simple. The Republicans are going to try to repeal it. That’s not going to happen. But they’re going to try to get rid of the employer mandate. If the Democrats are going to want to compromise on that, then why don’t they stop taxing our health plans. If the Democrats want to make compromises, [they should] make compromises that actually help people with good health insurance, and not tax them,” said Taylor.

@marcbuss marc@laborpress.org

November 11, 2014

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