Taxing Union Health Care Benefits?

On Sept. 16, Senator Baucus (D-MT), Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, released a deeply flawed health care reform bill that fails to meet the most basic promise of health care reform, and threatens to shift more costs to employees represented by labor unions.

IAM members in Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Washington and West Virginia are urged to contact their senators at 1-877-264-4226 and insist the legislation be revised to eliminate the excise tax on workers’ health care benefits. IAM members may also contact their senators via an IAM Action Alert to say “no” on taxing health care benefits.

In addition to imposing an excise tax on certain so-called “high-cost” health plans, the proposed legislation will force cuts in benefits and cause more cost shifting to workers.

The bill also fails to include a public option as included in the House bills. Instead, it would establish state and regionally based co-ops. These small, non-profit insurance plans will have very little market clout and no ability to drive changes in the market that will lead to lower costs overall.