Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Unions and Republicans: Both Unhappy With Healthcare Bill


There is an old saying that politics makes for strange bedfellows. (Click for an explanation of the idiom.) And it looks like 2010 is going to make for some weirdness in Washington (even more than usual.) Everyone knows that Republicans are unhappy with both versions of the Healthcare bill being promoted by the Obama administration. One of the versions proposes to pay for healthcare by taxing what the President calls "cadillac plans." This was meant to appeal to the "masses" because it implied taxing the rich. Well it turns out that many labor union members have "cadillac" healthcare plans and they are really upset with the current state of the healthcare bill.

They are so upset that they went to see the President Monday night to not only express their dismay but to threaten that many Democrats may lose their jobs in the next election if changes are not made. (Anyone surprised that union leaders resort to threats?) In an AP article, Labor angry over Obama-backed insurance tax, reporter Erica Werner says "The president of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, warned that Democrats risk catastrophic election defeats similar to 1994 if they fail to come up with a health bill labor likes." She goes on further to report "The head of the International Association of Firefighters, Harold A. Schaitberger, made similarly threatening remarks in a statement Monday. 'The president's support for the excise tax is a huge disappointment and cannot be ignored. If President Obama continues to support it and signs a bill that includes the excise tax on workers, we will hold him accountable,' said Schaitberger, who was not among the attendees at the White House meeting."

So here we have a strange beginning to 2010 and the renewed debate on healthcare, labor unions and Republicans working together to get it changed. Who would have guessed it is the union workers who have the "rich" benefit plans that the Democrats railed against. OOPS!

This one will be interesting to watch.

1 comment:

Greg said...

Interesting post Mike. As noted an "unholy alliance" to get this bill killed. For once I believe organized labor understands that the bill in its current state would have potential detrimental impacts on their membership. While the span of "agreement" is narrow, these days nothing should surprise any of us!
It is our responsibility to our companies and ourselves, to monitor what is proposed and advise our leaders accordingly so the implications other than financial can be fully assessed.