September 23, 2013
OUR REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT:
Obamacare: Good For Workers, Bad For Unions (JOSH BARRO, 9/23/13, Business Insider)
Just as the Heritage Foundation intended.Obamacare discourages the sort of high-end health plans some unions have negotiated. Starting in 2018, the law imposes an excise tax on the most expensive health plans, as a way to both discourage high health care spending and raise revenue to finance the law. A lot of the "Cadillac" plans that will be subject to this tax are high-end ones that labor unions have negotiated for their members.Obamacare is financed in part through taxes on health insurance premiums. [...]Obamacare will undermine union-run Taft-Hartley multiemployer plans. This is at the center of LIUNA's complaint: Employers who currently participate in these plans are likely to drop out and give their employees cash to buy plans in the Obamacare exchanges instead. The unions claim that this is bad for the workers who currently enroll in Taft-Hartley plans. I don't buy that; the reason Taft-Hartley plans are expected to fall out of favor is that many current participants in those plans will become eligible for much larger subsidies if they buy in the exchanges. But whatever the impact on union members, the demise of Taft-Hartley plans is clearly bad for the union leaders who run them.Obamacare will make non-union workers better off. Access to exchange subsidies is good for union workers, but it's even better for non-union workers, who are more likely to lack access to health care through work currently. This win-win for workers will make it harder for unions to organize workplaces. As Avik Roy points out, access to a Taft-Hartley health plan is a key selling point to workers considering affiliating with certain unions. Losing that advantage of union membership may make workers less keen on joining a union.Universal health care will reduce the importance of collective bargaining.
Posted by Orrin Judd at September 23, 2013 6:21 PM