- - Sunday, February 17, 2013

Who knew Obamacare was bad for workers? Unions, or rather the professional class of union leaders, were vehement supporters of Obamacare’s federal takeover of health care. Now that they’ve had a chance to actually read the 2,801-page bill and “find out what is in it,” they are upset and want out.

Major unions like the AFL-CIO and the Teamsters are now demanding that they be allowed to stay on their current health care plans and receive government subsidies to cover the increased costs some of Obamacare’s provisions will impose on lower-income workers. They want to eat their government cake and have it too. What else is new? Who would foot the bill? You guessed it: We, the taxpayers.

The rank hypocrisy of Obamacare-backing unions began almost immediately after the passage of the bill three years ago, with hundreds of thousands of union workers being exempted from the law through waivers from the Obama administration.

In total, more than 1,200 entities were granted waivers from President Obama‘s signature legislation, the vast majority of them labor unions. In fact, unions representing 543,812 workers received waivers, while only 69,813 employees at private firms, many of them small businesses, managed to secure a waiver.
The same unions that fought tooth and nail to impose this program on all Americans used million-dollar lobbyists to make sure they didn’t have to play by the same rules as the rest of us. Nice.

Readers will recall Mr. Obama’s constant mantra: “If you like your health care, you can keep it.” Not so. According to the Congressional Budget Office, more than 7 million Americans will lose their employer-based insurance thanks to Obamacare. Unintended consequences always come back to haunt us, and try though they might, government actors are incapable of overturning economic law by mere decree.

Instead of joining the majority of Americans who want this bill repealed, unions are seeking to use their political leverage to shield themselves from the harm Obamacare will impose on hundreds of millions of their fellow Americans.

This episode of Left-Wing Fantasy Camp offers a revealing look into how unlimited government power breeds corruption. The Obama administration’s response to the union demands basically amounts to: “Well, we’ll see what happens when we implement the law.” Instead of the same rules applying to everyone, groups with the most money and lobbying power buy waivers, subsidies, and other special-interest carve-outs.

Instead of the people’s representatives in Congress creating laws, the administration will subjectively apply the law through hundreds of regulations created by unelected bureaucrats in various executive departments, effectively creating new laws.

Enough. Instead of forcing taxpayers to shell out even more money for this unconstitutional, unaffordable boondoggle, union members should join tens of millions of Americans in calling for a real solution to rising health care costs.

If Congress won’t fully repeal Obamacare, it should at least delay the law’s January 2014 start date for another year.

The Unaffordable Care Act will need to be delayed, because, thanks to grassroots efforts like blockexchanges.com, more than half the states have refused to set up “health insurance exchanges,” those costly new bureaucracies that are supposed to  administer Obamacare. The feds can’t fill in this gap, either legally or in terms of resources, so it’s looking like Congress will be forced to delay and revisit the law.
That provides a perfect opportunity to start over with a better way: patient-centered care. Congress should show true compassion and immediately pass patient-centered reforms like Health Savings Accounts, full deductibility for all medical expenses and targeted financial assistance for folks with pre-existing medical conditions.

The solution to the problem of Big Labor (and Big Business) corruptly colluding with Big Government is to insist on the rule of law and level playing fields.

What’s good for the goose is good for union bosses. What’s good for all of us is patient-centered care.

Dean Clancy is FreedomWorks legislative counsel and vice president for health care policy.