Unions Declare War On Baucus Bill In Defiance Of Rahm

Most of the major unions in American are not happy with the Baucus bill, which recently passed out of the Senate Finance Committee. Today, they chose to make their objections known very publicly, in defiance of Rahm Emanuel, by taking out several of full-page newspaper ads.
“He told us that we really don’t want to be looked upon as the group that stopped meaningful health-care reform,” [Gerald McEntee, president of American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees] said in an interview yesterday. “We would love to be on the exact same page as the White House, but we see ourselves as fighting for our members.”

The newspaper ad claims that the inclusion of “a public health insurance plan option is essential to reform.” The ad also stressed labor 's opposition to the new excise tax on high-end health insurance benefits. The ad called it an unacceptable, “new tax on the middle class.”

The fact that many labor unions strongly object to the Baucus bill should not be a surprise. The new excise tax on health insurance benefits would disproportionally hit middle class union members. The new tax is highly middle class regressive.

The Baucus bill also lacks a public option. In some ways the lack of public option symbolizes Baucus's refusal to truly rein in the different health care industries. The health insurance companies will not face new public competition, price control regulation, or medical loss ratio requirements. Both PhRMA and the hospital industries cut sweet heart deals, dramatically limiting the potential of health care reform to reduce the overall cost of health care in this country.

The spiraling upward costs of health insurance is crushing local government budgets and governmental employees. The incredibly high price of insurance and pharmaceuticals in America, compared to the rest of the world, is making our manufacturing sector uncompetitive globally. This is killing our manufacturing base and manufacturing unions.

The Baucus bill would hit many union members from both ends. It would tax their benefits above a set value, but too little to prevent the cost of their insurance to keep growing above that level.

The public opposition push from the Unions comes just days after the health insurance industry launched an attack on the Baucus bill. It is the latest sign that the White House's strategy of keeping all the stake holders at the table maybe unraveling

*Notably absent from the list of unions who sponsored the ad were the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the SEIU.

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