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Unions Have Buyer’s Remorse on Obamacare

When Obamacare passed in 2010, it did so with substantial union support. But now that unions are learning what’s actually in the law, voter’s remorse is setting in. The WSJ has the story:

Union leaders say many of the law’s requirements will drive up the costs for their health-care plans and make unionized workers less competitive. Among other things, the law eliminates the caps on medical benefits and prescription drugs used as cost-containment measures in many health-care plans. It also allows children to stay on their parents’ plans until they turn 26.

According to Sheet Metal Workers Local 85 Union in Atlanta, Obamacare’s requirements “will add between 50 cents to $1 an hour to the cost of members’ compensation package,” making them less competitive than non-unionized contractors with fewer than 50 employees, who can forgo health care for their workers without fear of a penalty. Unions who once thought Obamacare would save them money are now aggressively lobbying the Obama administration to fork over federal subsidies. This request has caught Obama in a bind:

For the Obama administration, holding firm against union demands for subsidies risks alienating a key ally. Giving unions a break, however, would not only increase the cost of the law but likely open the door to nonunion employers in a similar situation who would demand the same perk.

Obamacare, once thought of as the crown jewel in the President’s progressive agenda, is instead inflaming the blue civil war.

This aspect of Obamacare typifies everything that’s wrong about the fraying blue model. First the government establishes control over a huge sector of the economy. Then special interests spend tons of money and political capital to protect themselves from the inefficiencies that control introduces. So far the blue model has kept itself afloat by doling out favors to enough different groups to hold together a fractious political coalition. But as money gets tight, these groups are increasingly fighting over the same rents.

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