12.31.2009 0

ALG in the News: Health Negotiators Search for More Revenue

  • On: 01/20/2010 09:44:36
  • In: Health Care

  • ALG Editor’s Note: In the following featured article, The Wall Street Journal quotes ALG President Bill Wilson on the Right-To-Work Death Tax.


    Health Negotiators Search for More Revenue

    Criticism of Unions’ Five-Year Tax Exemption Mounts as Lawmakers and the White House Consider Ways to Pay for It

    By LAURA MECKLER AND NAFTALI BENDAVID

    WASHINGTON—Congressional leaders met with the White House for hours Friday to negotiate over the health-care bill, including how to pay for a deal giving a five-year reprieve on a new tax on expensive health plans to as many as 12 million union members.

    The agreement cleared away a significant hurdle to reaching a final deal on a health-care overhaul. But unions estimated that softening the tax would reduce revenue by $60 billion over a decade. The deal would exempt workers in collective bargaining agreements, as well as state and municipal government workers, from the tax until 2018. The tax would kick in for other workers in 2013.

    According to the AFL-CIO, the earlier version of the tax passed by the Senate Dec. 24 would have affected 19% of workers with employer-provided health coverage in 2013, or about 31 million people. Of the 31 million, about 40% are union members, the AFL-CIO said.

    Government analysts assumed that most employers affected by the tax would change to less-expensive plans to avoid it. The reprieve deal would remove that pressure on employers, allowing union members to keep existing benefits for longer.

    “Democrats are placing the interests of their narrow political base over the interests of every other American,” said Rep. Tom Price (R., Ga.). “Real reform wouldn’t treat people better simply because they have a union card in their wallet. Union members and bureaucrats should pay the same taxes as the rest of us.”

    A conservative advocacy group sent letters to a pair of Democratic congressmen whom Republicans are targeting this November, asking them to oppose the modified tax plan. The letters went to Reps. Tom Perriello and Glenn Nye, both of Virginia, a “right to work” state where workers can’t be forced to join unions

    “This is absolutely deplorable to American workers, 92% of whom do not belong to unions,” the group’s president, Bill Wilson, wrote. “In essence, nonunion employers and employees will be forced to subsidize the cost of exempting union workers from the tax, which will cost families in your states and districts thousands of dollars a year in additional charges.”

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