Policy: Labor

Harry Reid tells unions Obamacare will destroy their health plans

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told Nevada Public Radio on Friday that Obamacare will fundamentally change their health insurance plans.

“You can’t just keep running to the doctor with no deductible,” Reid told KNPR Friday when asked to respond to union criticism of President Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment.

On July 12, International Brotherhood of Teamsters President James Hoffa, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union President Joseph Hansen, and UNITE-HERE President D. Taylor, all co-signed a letter to Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., demanding major changes to Obamacare, which they said was already hurting their members.

“We have a problem; you need to fix it,” the letter reads. “The unintended consequences of the ACA are severe. Perverse incentives are already creating nightmare scenarios.”

The letter goes on to say that Obamacare is already forcing many employers to cut back employee hours, costing union members pay and health benefits. They also ask for subsidies for their existing non-profit health plans and complain about the impending taxes on those plans.

It is those impending taxes on the union health plans that Reid was referring to. Unions usually negotiate generous first-dollar health insurance coverage for their members that allows them to see a doctor whenever they want without paying a deductible.

Reid’s statement is an admission that that kind of health plan will simply not be sustainable under Obamacare, and union members must therefore prepare to lose that benefit.

Throughout the congressional debate over Obamacare, Obama repeatedly promised the American people, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”

Reid confirmed today that that promise was a lie.

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