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Even the unions are against “reforming” health care! September 28, 2009

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Financial Crisis, Uncategorized, US Politics.

Two things: Let’s look at shrinking support for any health care reform plan and how local unions in Milwaukee are recoiling against it.

From Kent Hoover at Buffalo Business First, published September 25 (bold is mine):

“The patient is still in the operating room, and the prognosis is not good.

That’s where health care reform lies today, according to many business groups that hoped for a better outcome. Their view is shared by most Americans: 54 percent of U.S. adults don’t think Congress will pass health care reform this year, according to a survey conducted this month by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.

This is a dramatic turnaround from earlier this year, when most experts inside the Beltway thought health care reform was inevitable, and the concept had overwhelming support among the general public.

Many lobbyists for small businesses and other employers blame Congress for overreaching. It should have focused on insurance market reforms aimed at lowering premiums and ending the ability of insurers to deny or price coverage because of health status.

Instead, Congress embarked on a complete overhaul of the health care system that would give the federal government too much power and cost hundreds of billions dollars more than was necessary, they contend.

“That’s why this whole thing is blowing up,” said James Gelfand, senior manager of health policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “They have to start over.”

“We’re kind of disappointed that Congress has wasted so much time with overblown bills that had no hope of enactment,” said Neil Trautwein, senior vice president and employee benefits counsel for the National Retail Federation.

“I think Congress blew it, basically,” said Karen Kerrigan, president/CEO of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council.

Political pressures may drive Congress to pass some modest reforms just to get something to President Barack Obama’s desk, but it’s not clear whether those reforms actually would reduce the cost of health insurance for employers, Kerrigan said.”

Then there’s this from Corinne Hess at the Business Journal of Milwaukee demonstrating how “health care reform” gets down to the local level and unions don’t like it:

“When the U.S. Senate Finance Committee gave the nation a glimpse at what health care reform could look like with the release of a proposed $856 billion, 10-year bill, it alienated a key segment of reform supporters: labor unions.

The bill would call for paying for reform in part by a tax on so-called “luxury” health insurance plans exceeding $21,000 for a family and $8,000 for individuals.

The average cost of a family health insurance plan in Wisconsin is $13,800. Unions, however, typically have richer benefits exceeding the cap set in the Finance Committee bill.

“Unions have been the backbone of the health reform movement,” said Robert Kraig, program director for Citizen Action of Wisconsin, an 89,000-member coalition from across the state. “They have said all along that everyone should have access to the quality, affordable care that they are fortunate to have. To turn around and tax them is a disservice.”

The Senate Finance Committee began debating the draft health care bill Sept. 22. Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, released the bill Sept. 16, and almost immediately amended portions of it after criticism from his fellow Democrats that the measure didn’t do enough to assist moderate-income Americans.

Baucus still wants to impose a tax on high-cost health plans starting in 2013, but has increased the thresholds for plans covering retirees over the age of 55 and those covering people in certain high-risk occupations like law enforcement and construction.

The increase for such plans would be raised by $750 for individual coverage and $2,000 for family coverage.

The amendment does little to help other unions, such as the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA).

The 5,600 members of the union are offered health insurance worth $24,000 per year for family coverage and $10,800 for individual coverage. About 60 percent of members have family plans.

If those plans were taxed, younger, healthier teachers would likely not accept the district insurance and seek less expensive coverage, driving up rates even faster for the people remaining in the plan, said Joan Heithoff, assistant executive director of MTEA.

Teachers have long accepted pay raises well below the consumer price index in exchange for good benefits and should not be penalized now because of it, Heithoff said.

“Our benefits are pretty much in line with surrounding school districts,” she said. “We have to offer this in order to attract quality teachers and remain competitive.”

The luxury health plans targeted in the Senate Finance bill are the type of health insurance plans people in every other industrialized country have and what most Americans enjoyed before health care costs skyrocketed, said David Newby, president of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, a federation of more than 1,000 local unions.

“The whole notion of taxing health insurance points out once again the problem of thinking in terms of reforming health insurance rather than the entire health care system,” Newby said.”

Continue to fight against anything other than health insurance reform focused on reducing premiums and keeping insurers from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions.



1. Posts about Barack Obama as of September 28, 2009 » The Daily Parr - September 28, 2009

[…] apply lessons from the credit crunch”. (read FSB report on G20 financial rules progress ). Even the unions are against “reforming” health care! – vsap.wordpress.com 09/28/2009 Two things: Let’s look at shrinking support for any health […]

2. Even the unions are against “reforming” health care! | insurance expert - September 28, 2009

[…] the original: Even the unions are against “reforming” health care! Share and […]

3. Tom Degan - September 28, 2009

Here an excerpt from an open letter to the American people written recently by my brother, Jeff:

“In the US, you pay more, get less, and die younger than we do in Europe. What part of that don’t you understand?

“My fellow Americans, you have nothing to fear except those who would use fear to keep you enslaved to the myth of the might of the American health care system.”

Jeff Degan

What can I tell you, the guy is a communist. Not only does he live in France, he actually likes it there! Go figure.


Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

4. Frank Scurley - October 16, 2009

I dont know If I said it already but …Cool site, love the info. I do a lot of research online on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

…..Frank Scurley

5. Savannah - October 17, 2009

Awesome blog!

I thought about starting my own blog too but I’m just too lazy so, I guess Ill just have to keep checking yours out.

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