As national Democrats prepare to run against the GOP on income equality issues, a giant union has issued a scathing Obamacare document that could undermine that case.
"The Irony of ObamaCare: Making Inequality Worse" is the title of the UNITE HERE (Culinary parent) document that is posted here and soon to be making its way to Capitol Hill. It is devastating to the Democrats. To wit:
Ironically, the Administration’s own signature healthcare victory poses one of the most immediate challenges to redressing inequality. Yes, the Affordable Care Act will help many more Americans gain some health insurance coverage, a significant step forward for equality. At the same time, without smart fixes, the ACA threatens the middle class with higher premiums, loss of hours, and a shift to part-time work and less comprehensive coverage.
The paper argues that the Affordable Care Act will transfer a billion dollars in wealth to insurance companies, create an unlevel playing field in the market, force employers to cut back hours and result in pay decreases. It lays it out in detail, with examples of union workers affected by Obamacare.
And then it concludes:
For two years, labor unions and employer partners have patiently explained to the Obama Administration and Congress the potential damage that the ACA poses to these unique, successful non-profit health plans.
Having already made efforts to accommodate businesses, churches and congressional staff, it is ironic that the Administration is now highlighting issues of economic inequality without acting to preserve health plans that have been achieving the goals of the ACA for decades. Without a smart fix, the ACA will heighten the inequality that the Administration seeks to reduce.
We take seriously the promise that “if you like your health plan, you can keep it. Period.” UNITE HERE members like their health plans. UNITE HERE’s plans are ready to compete with the corporate giants of the health insurance industry if Washington will simply create a level playing field.
UNITE HERE leader D. Taylor has sent the paper to national union leaders, with a cover letter (also attached here) that pivots at one point over comments attributed to New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez:
In other words, rollback 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.
Anyone who thought the unions would just slink back into the fold better rethink that notion.