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No, Really, You Can't Keep It
June 16, 2010
Last week, I wrote about President Obama's oft-repeated (and now broken) promise to allow people to keep their current health plans if they were happy. Because, yes, Mr. President, a lot of people are! I referred you to a Politico article that highlighted mini-med plans, which offer low-cost benefits to low-wage employees who may not be able to afford more comprehensive health care. Unfortunately, Obamacare's diagnosis keeps getting worse...
According to the Daily Caller, the Obama Administration just released a new regulation setting rules for who can keep their current insurance plans under the health care law. In an article entitled "Five more ways Obama's health-care law boosts unions," writer Jonathan Strong claims this regulation gives "special consideration" to unions. He goes on to say, "For the rule regarding whether people can keep their health plans – known as "grandfathering" in bureacratise – the Department of Health and Human Services ruled that for union-negotiated health plans, companies can change insurance providers but keep their essential plan details intact, or grandfathered. For non-union-negotiated plans, companies can't change providers – they must stay with their same insurance provider."
I certainly can't say I'm surprised. What else do you expect from a bill crafted behind closed doors and a law that remains virtually undefined? That's right. We're still waiting on the Administration to release details on how various provisions will be implemented, so I think it's safe to say that more bad news is yet to come.
Furthermore, the Daily Caller reports numerous other ways in which Obamacare boosts unions. The so-called "Cadillac" tax will be imposed on health care plans that cost at least $10,200, except where unions are concerned. For union-negotiated plans, the tax begins at $27,500, an adjustment that Strong says could save union members $60 billion. There is also a $5 billion subsidy for health care for early retirees, many of whom are unionized employees, a condition that gives union members premature access to exchange markets, and the exemption of very large groups from various regulations.
Again, I reiterate the uncertainty of this complex law. It's not just the issue of officials failing to make important information available to the public, it's the fact that many of these details have not yet been crafted! Expect to see even more "special consideration" for organized labor. It's almost inevitable.
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