My frustration is that there are really things that need to be fixed in this bill, but we have this religious war that makes it impossible to go through it and make changes, Courtney says.I think people are going to have to figure out how to ride it out for the next couple of years and hope that there will be a more friendly Congress after 2014.” Just how unfriendly are Republicans to the idea of changing the law for unions now?Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced a bill last week specifically barring the White House from making any changes to the bill for organized labor, a move that he said would amount to a backroom deal. Union leaders are now awaking to the ugly reality of ObamaCare that most Americans have predicted all along, including higher health care costs, Thune said. Those higher costs arent certain for union workers, but are a strong possibility, say experts. Because low-income union workers would be eligible for state-based exchanges and the tax subsidies they offer, their employers may be tempted to drop their coverage. The concern is that employers will be less willing to collectively bargain with unions through Taft Hartley if the employers believe their employees would be as well of or perhaps better off in the exchanges with the premium tax credits, says Timothy Jost, a professor at Washington and Lee University who has studied the Affordable Care Act. Jost says the way the law is written makes it impossible for the White House to give unions what they wantmore favorable tax treatment for their existing plans and subsidies for their workers who have access to private insurance through union contracts. You’re either insured through your employer or you’re not and if you’re not and your income is low enough then you’re eligible for the tax credit, Joust says.But you can’t get both and I think that’s the fundamental problem. Courtney says he began hearing from union leaders and members years ago about their serious concerns over the bill.This thing has been simmering for a long time, and it was at the convention that it burst into public view.” That was the AFL-CIOs annual convention last week, which President Obama skipped as the Syrian crisis escalated.In his absence, union members passed a rare resolution blasting the Affordable Care Act for its possible effects on union members.It needs to be changed and fixed now, LIUNA president Terry O’Sullivan told the convention. Two days later, Congress had already recessed for the weekend and the administration formally announced it could not make the changes unions want without Congress acting first.All agree Congress acting isnt likely. We knew from the check it out beginning this would be a problem, a senior Democratic aide tells The Daily Beast.But with Republicans controlling the House, the aide said, the changes the unions want just arent going to happen. There’s only so much to do within the context of the law, but Republicans are only interested in sabotaging the law. As for a possible solution outside of Congress, Courtney said that he believes the door remains open for the Obama administration to step in somehow, particularly after a meeting last week between the president and top labor leaders. After the meeting, Courtney said, White House officials were given their marching orders to go and try to come up with ideas about how the Department of Labor can cushion the blow in terms of the problem that I think is now becoming increasingly apparent. After months of public warnings and complaints, union leaders have been silent since that meeting, a signal that a deal could be in the works and a sign of just how important changing the law is for unions and for one of the key benefits they offer current and prospective members. Overall, Jost says, many Democrats in Washington concede that if the health-care exchanges are successful, it is possible that the health coverage low-income union members receive through the exchanges could be as good and as affordable as what they have now.But their incentive to work through their unions to get that coverage could change drastically.
During KC visit, Obama revs up budget battle
That sounds pretty healthy, so far. Heritage should be pleased. The prominent Washington-based think tank developed the individual health care mandate in the late 1980s. Heritage also supported the concept in then-Gov. Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. But in President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, Heritage turned ferociously against it.
More traditionally, Americans for Prosperity , the free-market advocacy group that spent more than $33 million to try to defeat Obama in the 2012 election, has hosted telephone forums and town-hall-style meetings as part of a 35-state campaign to block the healthcare law. “We now have a funded, professional, logistically proficient infrastructure that, when one of these fights [arises] can really spring into action,” said Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips. The House vote Friday illustrated the fervor of the battle. After months of largely symbolic votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the chamber’s most conservative Republican lawmakers backed the GOP leadership into a corner, insisting that future government spending be linked to suspension of funding for the healthcare law. Without a compromise, many nonessential government agencies will shut their doors when the budget year ends Sept. 30, the eve of the law’s enrollment period.
Obama looks to Hollywood to help promote his healthcare law
But tea party members, adamantly opposed to spending for health care, pressured GOP leaders to add a provision to cripple the health care law. Obamacare is an unmitigated, disastrous train wreck, Rep. Sam Graves, a Missouri Republican, said in a statement after the House vote Friday. The House demonstrated leadership in voting to both fund the federal government and remove the countrys largest obstacle to job creation and economic growth. The funding measure moves to the Senate. Democrats there are expected to try to remove the Obamacare language and send the bill back to the House. The White House says Obama will veto the bill if it includes the anti-Obamacare provision.