Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Union leaders wrote a letter to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, warning of “nightmare scenarios” for millions of union workers' health plans if Obamacare is not changed. “Congress wrote this law; we voted for you,” they wrote. “We have a problem; you need to fix it.”

Health and Human Services quietly giving unions Obamacare fix - Susan Crabtree/Washington Examiner

he Obama administration has found a way to give unions relief from an Obamacare tax nearly three weeks after Republicans rejected a Democratic push to include the labor carve-out in the latest budget deal.

The Department of Health and Human Services quietly released a final rule last week that includes an intention to exempt some union insurance plans from a substantial new tax known as the reinsurance fee.

As part of Obamacare, the tax was supposed to be levied against all insurance plans to share the risk for insurers taking on the sickest patients next year.

...“It's outrageous that the Obama administration is ignoring the plain language of the law he insisted on to deliver another bailout to the union bosses,” said Fred Wszolek, spokesman of the Workforce Fairness Institute. “Either follow the law and tax every insurance plan, or repeal the whole thing, but there's no legal basis for another expensive favor for big labor.”

The reinsurance fee is $63 per person covered by an insurance plan per year, and is expected to raise $25 billion over three years. Exempting unions in 2015 and 2016 from the tax would protect their plans from taking a major hit, although they would have to pay it in 2014, when the tax will be the greatest during the first year Obamacare is in effect.

HHS didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.