09.04.2013 0

As Big Labor disowns Obamacare, will Republicans own it?

ObamacarequestionsBy Rick Manning

While Congress was out on recess this August, the 40,000-member International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) quit the AFL-CIO over the group’s acquiescence to President Obama over the perversely named Affordable Care Act (ACA), firing the first shot in the debate over what to do when the law inevitably collapses.

The ILWU’s attack on Obamacare followed a public letter condemning the law jointly signed by International Brotherhood of Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa; Donald “D.” Taylor, president of UNITE-HERE; and Joseph Hansen, international president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

The letter from Hoffa, Taylor and Hanson to the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) unequivocally states, “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.”

The Nevada AFL-CIO was equally shrill in their newly found opposition to the law’s implementation passing a resolution at their August meeting with Reid in attendance that partially reads, “Whereas, as a result of Administration inaction to fix the problem, the unintended consequences of the ACA will lead to the destruction of the 40 hour work week, higher taxes and force union members onto more costly plans — eventually destroying the Taft-Hartley Funds completely;”

In the past six weeks, that is now at least five major private sector unions demanding changes to Obamacare, with four of them citing it as destroying the 40-hour workweek.

However, Republicans should not become sanguine about these major unions flip-flopping on the Obamacare law. These unions, in their letters, statements and resolutions have not suddenly become free-market healthcare advocates urging medical malpractice reform, the interstate sale of healthcare plans to increase competition, and less costly catastrophic insurance options.

No, instead they are getting ahead of the curve in the argument over what follows the designed-to-fail Obamacare plan.

And their answer to the question about what to replace it with is a Canada-style, single-payer system.

If House and Senate Republicans allow the funding of Obamacare’s implementation in 2014, within a few short years, they will be defending the law they claim to hate. They will be desperately trying to fix it while facing a rising tide urging the single-payer system that the left always wanted.

Just as the GOP spent years getting battered defending former Sen. Edward Kennedy’s Health Maintenance Act of 1973, which was designed to lower healthcare costs, Republicans will find themselves trying to hold the line against a single-payer system. Attempts to assuage the left through providing more money to funds for those suffering with pre-existing conditions and into propping up failing healthcare co-ops, which even the administration project to have a 60 percent failure rate, will fail.

The left is already disowning Obamacare, and now is the time for Republicans to defund the law. Failure to stand firm now will leave the party owning the law they unanimously opposed.

Rick Manning (@rmanning957) is the vice president of public policy at Americans for Limited Government.

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