Friday, July 19, 2013

You Reap What You Sow

Here we go again with another effort to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act and make major changes to other sections.  They include the usual dire predictions that ObamaCare will "Destroy the very health and wellbeing of Americans".  There are political threats being made as well.  I bet you thought I was talking about Republicans in the House or maybe Tea Party members--but this brutal criticism is coming from the leaders of three large labor unions.  The presidents of the Teamsters, the United Food and Commercial Workers and the Textile and Hospitality unions sent a letter to Democratic Congressional Leaders this month demanding sweeping changes to ObamaCare--now that they "know what's in it."

Those union leaders are finding out that the employer requirements included in the ACA will "incentivize" business owners to limit the number of full-time employees they keep on their payrolls.  The unions are also finding out that the health insurance plans that they control (and usually require employers to use as part of their contracts--rather than putting that service out for bid) are not eligible are the vaunted subsidies for which those enrolled in private insurance companies will be given.  And perhaps most ironically, the "Cadillac" plans that those unions demanded not only for themselves but for their retirees as well, will be "taxed" at high levels in order to fund the subsidies.  That makes them even less desireable for employers to offer in the future.

My favorite part of the letter is this section: On behalf of the millions of working men and women we represent and the families they support, we can no longer stand silent in the face of elements of the Affordable Care Act that will destroy the very health and wellbeing of our members along with millions of other hardworking Americans.  I would swear that it lifted word-for-word from every Republican candidates stump speech in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

And the union leaders also want to remind Democrats that they are "owed" these concessions:   We have also been strong supporters of you. In campaign after campaign we have put boots on the ground, gone door-to-door to get out the vote, run phone banks and raised money to secure this vision.  I would respond to this statement using the vernacular of today's youth: "You got played, dudes."

The President and his fellow Democrats told the unions what they wanted to hear, "Everybody will get cheap health coverage", "You can keep your existing plan", "This will actually be good for the economy" and the rank and file bought it hook, line, and sinker--scoffing at the Republicans who made the exact same arguments against the Affordable Care Act that the unions are now making themselves!

I would remind the union folks of an old Biblical passage that applies to nearly everything in life--and especially in politics: You reap what you sow.

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