Unions turn against Obamacare

The Wall Street Journal has posted a letter written by three union leaders (H/T Wintery Knight) asking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) to make changes to Obamacare, which unions widely supported when it was passed. Here are some excerpts of the letter with my comments:

When you and the President sought our support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you pledged that if we liked the health plans we have now, we could keep them. Sadly, that promise is under threat.

Yes, your health plan will change, whether you like it or not. Why are you surprised? We conservatives did try to warn you.

Right now, unless you and the Obama Administration enact an equitable fix, the ACA will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.

Can you guess why the 40 hour work week will be affected? More on that in a minute…

We have been strong supporters of the notion that all Americans should have access to quality, affordable health care. 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.

Yes, remember that these unions supported Obama, Democrats, and Obamacare (though the latter is nothing like “quality, affordable health care”).

Now this vision has come back to haunt us.

If only they’d listened when we were warning them…

Time is running out: Congress wrote this law; we voted for you. We have a problem; you need to fix it.

Again, remember these unions supported this monstrosity and Congress passed it. Of course, the unions didn’t see any problems at the time.

The unintended consequences of the ACA are severe. Perverse incentives are already creating nightmare scenarios:

Did you just fall out of your chair? Because I did. Leftists are acknowledging unintended consequences! They are aware of such a thing as a perverse incentive!

First, the law creates an incentive for employers to keep employees’ work hours below 30 hours a week. Numerous employers have begun to cut workers’ hours to avoid this obligation, and many of them are doing so openly. The impact is two-fold: fewer hours means less pay while also losing our current health benefits.

Here’s where that 40 hour work week problem comes in. Obamacare requires large employers to provide health care benefits to their full-time employees (defined as an employee who works 30 hours or more per week) or pay a stiff new penalty. So what happens? Employers reduce or eliminate these new costs imposed on them by only allowing employees to work less than 30 hours per week. This means these employees are “part-time” and their employer doesn’t have to pay a penalty even without providing them with benefits. The result, as the union leaders point out, is that former full-time employees get fewer hours (which of course means less pay) and they still don’t get benefits. Great job, Democrats! Government mandates like those in Obamacare cannot escape economic realities — to paraphrase Dr. Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park: the market finds a way.

We continue to stand behind real health care reform, but the law as it stands will hurt millions of Americans including the members of our respective unions.

Quoted for truth. Unfortunately, tweaking Obamacare will not fix the problem — the entire behemoth of economic stupidity, unintended consequences, and perverse incentives must be scrapped.

As a salaried, non-union employee who has a good health plan (for now) I’m very much tempted to let out a hearty laugh of schadenfreude over this union letter. But I won’t do that because

  1. It’s not Christian to enjoy the misfortune of others. Even if they are idiots.
  2. Millions of Americans who did not support Obamacare will also suffer through no fault of their own.
  3. Health care spending is a significant percentage of the U.S. economy so the economic stupidity that is Obamacare is bound to eventually affect everyone.
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One thought on “Unions turn against Obamacare

  1. Pingback: The New York Times sells The Boston Globe for over $1 billion loss | The Null Hypotheses

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