June 23, 2009
Union Workers Would Be Exempt From Dem Health Care Tax
Union workers would be exempt from Dem health care tax
By: Susan Ferrechio
Chief Congressional Correspondent
The best chance for compromise legislation on health care may be a plan under construction in the Senate Finance Committee that would pay for a public plan in part by taxing some worker health benefits.
But the union workers who helped Democrats win Congress and the White House and whose support will be key in getting a health bill signed into law would not pay the tax.
With cost estimates already as high as $1.6 trillion, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., has proposed paying for the bill in part by taxing health care benefits for workers who earn more than $100,000, or $200,000 for married couples, according to those familiar with the discussions.
Baucus is also weighing a tax based on the value of health care benefits that exceed a yet-to-be determined cap. A tax on benefits that exceed the cap by a mere $3,000 could amount to $750 in taxes annually for a worker who earns as little as $34,000, say experts.
But those union members serving under collective bargaining agreements would not be subjected to the tax, according to proposals under discussion.
Union workers enjoy some of the most extensive and costliest health benefits, and union officials complained their members would be unfairly burdened by a health care tax because their contracts cannot be changed quickly enough to avoid it.
Union members also represent one of the biggest and most powerful Democratic constituencies and their support of any health care reform proposal is viewed as essential to getting a bill passed in Congress.
Baucus has proposed the tax threshold on health care benefits be set higher than the cost of policies available to federal employees and he has proposed exempting until 2013 those plans negotiated as part of union contracts.
“It’s a means of making sure that unions are foursquare behind any reform bill that comes out,” said Henry Aaron, a health care policy expert at Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.
Critics of the Baucus proposal to exempt unions from a health care benefits tax said the exclusion could be used to lure into unions employees who are anxious to avoid the benefits tax.
Paul Fronstin, a senior research associate with the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute, said excluding union benefits is also practical.
“The reality is, unions are in the position where they are going to get hit the hardest on that tax, and they just can’t change it on a dime like everyone else,” Fronstin said.
Wild Thing's comment........
This of all things should tick off all Taxpayers off. It is against what was once the Constitution and Bill of Rights bigtime.
Wasn’t one of Obama’s campaign pledges that we would get the same health care that congress got?? The doctors have to work like hell to save the life of murderer Ted Kennedy, but you little peons can die. This is the two-tiered system the Democrats rail against yet participate in. What hypocrits.
....Thank you Mark for sending this to me.
3rd Mar.Div. 1st Battalion 9th Marine Regiment
1/9 Marines aka The Walking Dead
Posted by Wild Thing at June 23, 2009 08:49 AM
Union Workers don't have to pay health care tax, what a 'sweetheart'deal that is. But the rest of us have to pony up and pay ours and theirs too, we are already paying for their Mortgage, I guess us Rich Conservatives can pay for their Health Care too. Another lie from Ozero, I thought he said, everyone will have some skin in the game, guess it only applies to NON union workers.
Posted by: Mark at June 23, 2009 11:40 AM
I want to take this opportunity to thank all those Uhmericans who were so thoughtful to include us in their plan.
Posted by: Jack at June 23, 2009 11:58 AM
Mark, I sure hope people find out about this
big time. When I talk to people now I am
going to make sure I bring it up. Too
many things like this don't get pointed
out in the media.
Thank you so much Mark for the headsuup
Posted by: Wild Thing at June 24, 2009 05:34 AM
Jack,LOL good one!!!!!!
Posted by: Wild Thing at June 24, 2009 05:35 AM