Topics: Obamacare

Examiner Editorial: Obama's tangled regulatory web angers unions, trade associations

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Opinion,Editorial,Labor unions,Obamacare,Health Care,IRS,Freedom of Speech,Washington Examiner

Remember the maxim parents teach children about lying: “What a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive.” Tell one lie and it soon must be followed by another, then another to cover for the fIRSt falsehood. Similarly tangled webs are woven every day in government: Officials set out to regulate one thing and soon find themselves thinking they must regulate more, often unexpected, things because of the precedent established by the original regulation. President Obama and his appointees are weaving multiple tangled regulatory webs, but two of them stand out at the moment.

First, labor unions vigorously backed Obamacare in 2009 and 2010. Many unions also received temporary exemptions from various provisions of Obamacare after it became law. But sooner or later, the exemptions must end and the law take full effect. So unions are now up in arms, having learned the hollow truth about Obama's promises that people could keep the health insurance plans and doctors they like. Most of the unions offer health insurance plans that they fear they won't be able to continue under Obamacare. Dropping those plans will force millions of unions members and retirees into Obamacare and put them at the risk of losing many of their doctors and other health care providers.

In other words, millions of dependable Democrat voters in unions may stay at home on election day 2014.

No wonder union leaders are angry. In a brutal post last week on Huffington Post, D. Taylor, head of the powerful UNITE HERE union, warned, “Our members like their plans, period. They want to keep them, period.” And in a declaration that likely shocked Democratic campaign strategists, Taylor told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, "It's almost impossible to get excited for any election with the loss of our health plans looming over us and no fix in sight.” Similarly, Danny Thompson, executive secretary treasurer of the Nevada State AFL-CIO, said, “Union members have serious concerns with how [Obamacare] will affect their plans. We have to prioritize. Workers will make the decision about elections. I can't imagine the threat to their health plans won't be a factor.” In other words, millions of dependable Democrat voters in unions may stay at home on Election Day 2014.

Then there is the IRS scandal. It was bad enough that the tax agency targeted hundreds of Tea Party, conservative and evangelical groups applying for nonprofit status during the 2010 and 2012 campaigns. Then, when the IRS made public last November a proposed regulation that would effectively end all nonprofit activities with even remote connections to politics, there was an aside that similar rules could be in the offing for labor unions and trade associations. That aside gave unions yet another reason to be angry with Obama, and it also put trade associations, which are among the most politically active groups in the country, on notice.

As the Washington Post reported Sunday, at least one campaign finance lawyer is telling clients they better “pay attention to this. It's potentially catastrophic.” That's especially true with political speech and health care. That's why the Constitution tells Congress to butt out of the former and says nothing about federal bureaucrats controlling the latter.

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