Labor Leader Calls Obama's Promise that Union Members Will Be Able to Keep Their Health Care Plans "Simply Not True For Millions of Workers"


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At the beginning of the year, labor groups began to publicly grumble about the potential implications of Obamacare on union members. As written, the law will cause headaches for unions that provide health coverage to members via multiemployer plans. Currently, those plans cover about 26 million people.

Last month, a 22,000-member, D.C. based union—the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers, and Allied Workers, which supported Obama in the 2012 campaign—became the first labor group to publicly call for full repeal of the president's health care law. So far, they're still the only union to call for full repeal of the law. But since then, other, larger labor groups have become increasingly outspoken in their concerns about the law.

The Hill reports today that several unions are warning "that unless there are changes, the results could be catastrophic" for big labor. One of those is the 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which the article describes as "very worried about how the reform law will affect its members' healthcare plans."

Worried enough, in fact, that the head of the union is calling out President Obama for making misleading statements about the health law's impact:

In a new op-ed published in The Hill, UFCW President Joe Hansen homed in on the president's speech at the 2009 AFL-CIO convention. Obama at the time said union members could keep their insurance under the law, but Hansen writes "that the president's statement to labor in 2009 is simply not true for millions of workers."

Republicans have long attacked Obama's promise that "nothing in this plan will require you to change your coverage or your doctor." But the fact that unions are now noting it as well is a clear sign that supporters of the law are growing anxious about the law's implementation.  

I doubt the White House meant to make life difficult for unions with the health care law. But that's why these sorts of side effects are referred to as "unintended consequences." 

Read more on the specifics reasons why unions are concerned about Obamacare here.