Take it, Janet Adamy:
A labor union representing roofers is reversing course and calling for repeal of the federal health law, citing concerns the law will raise its cost for insuring members.
Organized labor was instrumental in getting the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, but more recently has voiced concerns that the law could lead members to lose their existing health plans. The United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers is believed to be the first union to initially support the law and later call for its repeal.
“After the law was passed, I had great hope…that maybe the rough spots would be worked out and we’d have a great law,” said Kinsey Robinson, international president of the union, which represents 22,000 commercial and industrial roofers…
Mr. Robinson says the union’s concerns about the law began to pile up in recent months after speaking with employers.
The roofers’ union’s current insurance plan caps lifetime medical bill payouts at $2 million for active members and $50,000 for retirees. Next year, the plan has to remove those caps in order to comply with the health law. Other aspects of the retiree plan must become more generous in order to meet the law’s minimum essential coverage requirements next year. All that will increase the cost of insuring members, Mr. Robinson said, and has prompted the union to weigh eliminating the retiree plan.
Adding to those cost concerns is a new $63-per-enrollee fee on health plans that pays insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions next year. Looking ahead to 2018, when the law levies an excise tax on high-value insurance plans, Mr. Robinson predicts that at least some of the union’s plans will get hit by it…
Over time, Mr. Robinson says, his optimism that regulators or lawmakers would address the union’s concerns diminished. “I don’t think they are going to get fixed,” he said. On Tuesday, the union called for a repeal of the health law or a complete reform of it.
Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) was the primary author of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known colloquially and affectionately as ObamaCare. Today, he predicted his own law would cause a “huge train wreck” when the federal government begins implementing it fully later this year. He’s not the only one who’s worried. Other Democratic senators have expressed concerns. An Obama administration official recently offered this vote of confidence:
We are under 200 days from open enrollment, and I’m pretty nervous…The time for debating about the size of text on the screen or the color or is it a world-class user experience, that’s what we used to talk about two years ago…Let’s just make sure it’s not a third-world experience.
How could Baucus come to fear his own bill? Maybe because he never read it, as he admitted to his Libby, Montana, constituents in 2010:
Naturally, a Baucus flack later clarified what he meant:
Senator Baucus wrote the bill that passed the Finance Committee and then worked with his colleagues to write the health care bill that is law today. He has spent years crafting this policy and hundreds of hours reading and perfecting it. There is simply no question that he understands the provisions in the health care law…
If so, perhaps Baucus could explain the law to his colleague, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). Rockefeller may have spent more time studying health care than any other U.S. senator, Baucus included. For example, Rockefeller founded the Alliance for Health Reform and headed the organization for more than a decade. And yet Rockefeller finds ObamaCare to be “the most complex piece of legislation ever passed by the United States Congress” and “just beyond comprehension”:
But can we really blame Baucus if ObamaCare supporters – including himself – didn’t understand the bill they were passing? After all, he warned us that not all of them would understand it:
So to recap: Baucus wrote an early draft of the law, helped to write subsequent drafts, didn’t read the final law, totally understands it, and now fears it.
Will the last ObamaCare supporter please turn off the lights?
So says the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Support dropped among independents too (not as much, but still more than the margin of error).
I’m a bit late to this party, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) was of course right to tell Fox News’ Chris Wallace last weekend that the federal government should not pursue universal coverage:
Wallace: In your replacement [for ObamaCare], how would you provide universal coverage?
McConnell: Well, first let me say the single best thing we can do for the American health care system is to get rid of ObamaCare…
Wallace: But if I may sir, you talk about “repeal and replace.” How would you provide universal coverage?
McConnell: …We need to go step by step to replace it with more modest reforms…that would deal with the principal issue, which is cost…
Wallace: …What specifically are you going to do to provide universal coverage to the 30 million people who are uninsured?
McConnell: That is not the issue. The question is, how can you go step by step to improve the American health care system…
Wallace: …If you repeal ObamaCare, how would you protect those people with pre-existing conditions?
McConnell: …That’s the kind of thing that ought to be dealt with at the state level…
McConnell would have seemed less evasive and could have stopped Wallace in his tracks had he said, “We will not pursue universal coverage because that causes more people–not fewer–to fall through the cracks in our health care sector.”
Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign has responded to my post, “Gingrich Adviser Urges States to Implement ObamaCare,” in which I responded to David Merritt’s Daily Caller op-ed calling on states to create ObamaCare’s health insurance Exchanges. According to Gingrich campaign spokesman Joe DeSantis:
Mr. Merritt is still an advisor to Speaker Gingrich, but he was not writing this article as a representative of the campaign. Newt receives advice from a large number of people. That does not mean he always agrees with the advice he is given. In this case of states implementing ObamaCare as a precaution, he explicitly disagrees with Mr. Merritt. He believes states need to resist the implementation of the law because it is a threat to our freedom.
Now that we’ve got the Heritage Foundation and Newt Gingrich on board, perhaps Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul could emphasize to state officials the importance of not implementing ObamaCare.
This work by Cato Institute is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.