Unions awake to reality of ObamaCare and its perverse incentives

Though the White House has steadfastly claimed ObamaCare will be good for the economy — slowing annual health care inflation by 1.5 percentage points and increasing GDP — some of the nation’s biggest backers of the law are finally awakened to the harsh reality.

In a letter addressed to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, three big union bosses, including longtime Las Vegas Culinary union head D. Taylor, warn that ObamaCare must be fixed before it taxes their hard-won Cadillac nonprofit health insurance plans into bankruptcy and destroys the 40-hour workweek.

The letter reminds, in no uncertain terms, how much Democrats like Harry Reid owe the union.

Harry Reid and D. Taylor in happier times. (Sun photo)

Harry Reid and D. Taylor in happier times. (Sun photo)

“We have been strong supporters of the notion that all Americans should have access to quality, affordable health care,” the union bosses write. “We have also been strong supporters of you. In campaign after campaign we have put boots on the ground, gone door-to-door to get out the vote, run phone banks and raised money to secure this vision.”

In 2010, that huge union surge completely changed in Nevada the turnout ratio that was the rule across the rest of the nation.

The unions now realize that the law creates “perverse incentives” for employers to keep employees’ work hours below 30 hours a week so they do not have to provide health insurance. “Numerous employers have begun to cut workers’ hours to avoid this obligation, and many of them are doing so openly. The impact is two-fold: fewer hours means less pay while also losing our current health benefits,” the letter points out.

But perhaps more importantly, the unions’ nonprofit plans will not qualify for ObamaCare subsidies though union members will be taxed to subsidize others, making “plans like ours unsustainable.”

“Time is running out,” the bosses warn, “Congress wrote this law; we voted for you. We have a problem; you need to fix it. The unintended consequences of the ACA are severe.”

Perhaps they should have been paying attention in 2010 when the Heritage Foundation warned that ObamaCare would increase the deficit by an average $75 billion per year and result in an estimated 670,000 lost job opportunities per year.

Maybe someone at the unions took a closer look at the June jobs report in which the unemployment rate held steady at 7.6 percent, but the underemployment rate rose from 13.8 percent to 14.3 percent. This is because there are more people working part-time who want to work full-time.

52 comments on “Unions awake to reality of ObamaCare and its perverse incentives

  1. Vernon Clayson says:

    Who can actually believe the union bosses were totally unaware of the hazards in this legislation? Their job was to deliver their member’s votes to Obama, Harry Reid here in Nevada, and the other progressives across the country, they succeeded but howl now. Not to worry, they will return to the progressive fold in 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020, on and on.

  2. Steve says:

    And yet, conservatives were called stupid for opposing this POS when it was legislation.

    A bit late the unions now realize we we were voicing real concerns.

    All we get to do now is say “we tried to tell you so, you refused to listen.”

  3. Vernon Clayson says:

    Conservatives in The Congress, didn’t exactly fight against Obamacare, they folded – period. The Congress has little influence in the present scheme of things but all of the members had dreams of riches that would flow into Washington and figured they would catch a few crumbs.

  4. Rincon says:

    Conservatives did fight. They went for broke, refusing to compromise and engage the Democrats. Zero Republicans voted for it in either house. It was winner take all, which is how Tea Partiers and Conservatives like it – refusing to compromise their principles. The real force behind the passage was the incompetence of the Bush administration, which led to a Demacratic majority in both houses.

  5. “Unintended consequences”? HAHAHAHA!!

    To quote myself: “We shouldn’t have trusted whom we trusted.” The klepto-republicrats and their Big Government masters win again.

    Just goes to show ya, I guess legislation SHOULD be read before it’s passed, especially by those who support it. Dumbf**ks…

  6. Steve says:

    The only “compromise” for Republicans was take it or leave it, absolutely ALL of the compromising done on ACA was among Democrats (and those two independents).

    On the other hand, Rincon is one hundred percent correct about Obama and the Democrats being the fault of GWB.

  7. Rincon says:

    Although the Republicans were not in a position to outvote the Democrats, proposing an alternative that was less radical would likely have resonated with large numbers of voters, even if none of it was adopted. By appearing intransigent, they appealed only to their base, which is a shrinking demographic.

  8. Steve says:

    They did make proposals, all of which were shouted down by the solid, in control, majority. In fact it was that majority that caused the House to change hands in the mid terms.

    No sir! It was all Democrats and they OWN this sucker.

  9. Nyp says:

    The removal of federal subsidies for wasteful union-sponsored Cadillac plans is a feature, not a bug.

  10. Rincon says:

    Although the Republicans did present a 219 page proposal of their own, it was too little too late. The issue had languished since they squashed Hillary in the early ’90’s. The Republicans were quite happy with the old system, thank you. With this history and a filibuster-proof majority by the Democrats, the Republicans were in no position to be calling the tune, yet they still played winner-take-all by roundly condemning all Democratic proposals and presenting an entire package that had no hope of adoption.

    Their bill was rather unimpressive, merely adding a few tweaks to a badly broken system. The Republicans also delayed incessantly before finally submitting their lame proposal: “With the House of Representatives nearing a vote on the Democrats’ health care reform bill, Republicans this week unveiled their own version”
    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2009/nov/05/gop-health-care-reform-simple-explanation/

    They failed to adequately address the fact that tens of millions have no insurance: Politifact rated this statement as mostly true: “Wasserman Schultz says GOP alternative health care plan allows insurers to continue denying coverage for pre-existing conditions” http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2009/nov/05/debbie-wasserman-schultz/wasserman-schultz-says-gop-alternative-health-care/

    And: “If insurance policies are sold across state lines, critics say, there could be an incentive for insurers to locate in the least-regulated states, allowing them to scale back coverage. And the Republican bill, unlike the Democratic bills, doesn’t specifically bar insurers from excluding pre-existing conditions, even though that policy has broad support in both parties.”

    Although they limited malpractice awards with an arbitrary ceiling on punitive damages, that would have had almost no effect on doctors’defensive medicine costs nor on the number of lawsuits filed. It would have only saved insurers some money on larger awards.

    Etc, etc. It wasn’t a serious effort to reform the system.

  11. Steve says:

    That filibuster proof majority trumps every other word in your post, Rincon.

    The Democrats own every bit of this thing.

  12. Rincon says:

    Agreed. Unfortunately, they’re about as bad as the Republicans. Notice there’s no legal reform and precious little cost control in Obamacare – although when they tried to eliminate routine PSA tests because they’ve been shown to do more harm than good, the Republicans screamed bloody murder, calling it rationing. It’s to be expected from the antiscience party.

  13. bc says:

    the Republicans were not allowed at the table, the Dems had a Fillibuster proof majority at that time and controlled the entire process. What the Republicans may have wanted, proposed, supported was completely ignored.

    Rincon, you say that a better plan would have been listened to by the voters. At the end of the Bush Presidency with the economy starting to implode and the war in Iraq at the point it was, the resounding defeat of the Republican party ensured that the Democratic party called all of the shots. Nobody was listening to the Republicans.

    With the opportunity to make a mark, make a stand in history where he and his party could take the country into any direction they wanted, Obama chose his stand to be health care. Unfortunatly for the President he did not lead this effort, rather he left it to the leaders of Congress to formulate his program and thus the program was not well thought out or debated. It now appears that the program is not what the folks who elected the President had hoped and as the country is finding, perhaps not ready for prime time.

  14. Steve says:

    Rincon, it should be up to doctors what tests are necessary, not bureaucrats. PSA tests effects aside, in some cases they would be useful, otherwise they would not be ordered by the doctors… I say Frank Zappa would have disagreed with you. In fact he did, in an interview near the end of his life.

  15. Rincon says:

    I agree, bc. The Democrats had a golden opportunity and blew it badly. The priority needed to be cost control; instead, it was all about handing insurance to poor people. The greatest sin by the Republicans was being entirely satisfied with the broken system we had for forty or more years and obstructing change until they were no longer able to influence the process substantially.

    I agree with Steve as well with one major caveat. It should be up to the doctor what tests are necessary only if said doctor is paid by results or salary, not by the number of procedures performed.

    Zappa, being a musician, automatically assumed that an earlier diagnosis would have saved his life. He also assumed that having the doctor tickle his prostate, a very cheap test, would not have been as helpful. Both are doubtful, but even if true, the number of lives saved from a procedure must be greater than the number of lives lost from that procedure. The biopsies following the enormous numbers of false positive PSA tests are not without risk. The other question is how many men are actually cured when diagnosed with prostatic malignancy? In addition, how much suffering must be born by others to save a single life?

    A series of scientific studies tends to be far more accurate than a single musician’s opinion. But I forget, Conservatives tend to disregard the results of scientific studies.

  16. Steve says:

    Nah, discount the people who had experience, they don’t know a damn thing. Or didn’t, we will not be able to ask them…right?
    In his day that test was the best indicator of future trouble. I present it only as evidence that doctors are the deciding factor in what tests need to happen. If you ever find a good doctor you will know what I mean. I speak from close personal experience, real close real personal. We have a Neurologist I believe is one who tests when needed, not because he makes money on tests.

    I believe if Frank Zappa were alive today he would be conservative. Not because his views would have changed, rather because liberals “left” us all for the far left they today claim is THE “Center”.

  17. Rincon says:

    Same as your opinion about global warming. You say that a seat of the pants opinion beats a scientific study. It’s too bad that America’s science education is so poor. I don’t know about you, but the average citizen knows next to nothing about scientific methodology or the workings of the scientific community. As a result, they get the opinion that scientists are routinely wrong. The opposite is the case, On an absolute scale, science is quite imperfect, but compared to the common sense alternatives, science is light years ahead.

    Experience told us that cigarettes, lard and lots of body fat and even arsenic for that matter, were healthy. Do you still believe that? If we relied only on experience, we wouldn’t have MD’s; we’d have witch doctors…but medicine would be a whole lot cheaper! 🙂

  18. Steve says:

    I said, in his day that test was the best they had, Rincon.

  19. Rincon says:

    The test was and is worse than nothing. From Wikipedia:

    The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended against PSA screening in healthy men finding that the potential risks outweigh the potential benefits.[1] This recommendation, released in October 2011, is based on a review of evidence and concludes that “prostate-specific antigen–based screening results in small or no reduction in prostate cancer–specific mortality and is associated with harms related to subsequent evaluation and treatments, some of which may be unnecessary.”[19]

    Hal Arkes, a psychologist, presents the statistical case as follows: If there were two auditoriums each filled with 1,000 men, one filled with men who had taken PSA screening tests and the other with men who didn’t take the test, there would be just as many men (8) “who died of prostate cancer in each auditorium, which leads us to think in the aggregate it didn’t do any good.” Among those who took the test there would also be 20 men who were treated for prostate cancers which never would have caused symptoms. Five of these men would have lifelong complications, including impotence and incontinence. [20][21]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostate_cancer_screening#The_screening_controversy

  20. The test is not the problem. The bad decisions as to treat it or not is the problem.

  21. Steve says:

    Wikipedia:
    The worst place for good information, anecdotal at best. Always double check what you find on that site, always.

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2005-11-29-wikipedia-edit_x.htm

  22. Steve says:

    Frank passed away in 1993. That test was the best thing they had back then.

  23. Rincon says:

    One disputed article out of more than a million is hardly convincing. You apparently found nobody to dispute the article on the PSA test.

    Does the Mayo Clinic pass muster?
    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/psa-test/MY00180/DSECTION=risks

  24. Steve says:

    You took my advice. Same answer, this is all new info, back in the 90’s it was the best they had.

    I wasn’t looking for anything to counter the wiki link. Only recommending you double check what is found there.

  25. Rincon says:

    I do understand that Wikipedia is not the gold standard of reliability, but I consider it to be a good source of information. You’re quite correct in asserting that it’s best to access several sources of information, which I usually do; however, it is cumbersome to put up 10 links for every item. Everyone here has the opportunity to prove Wikipedia wrong. If they’re as poor as you assert, that should be easy. So far though, if memory serves me, no one’s been able to do that.

    Sources are a difficult problem. After all, when the claim is made that NASA is a poor source of information, but that conservative think tanks are spot on, I have to conclude that people often believe what they want to hear.

  26. Steve says:

    “I have to conclude that people often believe what they want to hear.”

    OR

    I have to believe people want to prove only what they want to believe. Like the Anthropocentric part of Climate Change being used to scam the public into donating money to places like the Carbon Fund.

  27. This from Mayo is pretty much what I said earlier:

    * Overdiagnosis. Studies have estimated that between 17 and 50 percent of men with prostate cancer detected by PSA tests have tumors that wouldn’t result in symptoms during their lifetimes. These symptom-free tumors are considered overdiagnoses — identification of cancer not likely to cause poor health or to present a risk to the man’s life. ________________________________

  28. Rincon says:

    It’s quite true that people don’t set out to prove what they don’t think is likely to be true. So explain to me why the skeptics, who are well funded and highly motivated to discover the natural causes of the warming, have completely failed to discover them.

  29. Steve says:

    Please, Rincon, you cannot discover what is already known.
    The real question the consensus has not locked down, with experimental proof, is how much effect the A has in Climate Change. Recently they are having to begin to question their own theoretical models. There is not enough known about climate to make solid moves on what to do about it.

    Even IF we allow that the models are somewhat trustworthy, we ARE talking about a century to effect any change with THE ONE AND ONLY demand from your peeps. STOP ALL CARBON USE!

    I am among many saying adaptation to what is visible in climate change is the best course and you guys fight it tooth and nail!

    You all know it won’t “save the planet” cause the planet will be here no matter if humans survive or not and you don’t even try to hide the fact your way will harm humans. You guys don’t care about the planet or humans.

    No sir, the Carbon Fund proves what I say. It has become all about money and power, pull the wool off your eyes man!

  30. Rincon says:

    You may be reading too fast. I have steadfastly advocated only partial mitigation on the cheap. As Hurricane Sandy proved (I’m speaking only of ocean levels here), with 68,000 buildings on Manhattan alone – many constructed when the ocean was 9 inches lower – adaptation is already proving to be horrendously expensive. Of course, the victims of Katrina, etc might also have appreciated 9 inches less water.

    Talk about money and power, 5 of the 10 largest corporations in the world are petroleum companies http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/global500/2011/
    which all are on the side of doing nothing. They are stacked up against scientists whose yearly funding is probably less than their janitorial bill. I see. The largest corporations on the planet are the hapless victims of those power-crazed scientists. Now tell me the one about Goldilocks and the three bears.

  31. Steve says:

    How about the one about the politician and the power broker?

  32. Steve says:

    Google is no small patootie.

    http://www.acore.org/news-3/411-64-acore-member-google-recruits-lobbying-muscle-to-promote-green-power-ventures

    Add in some more internet youngsters and you have today’s good old boys.

  33. Rincon says:

    With all the money the oil, gas, and coal companies have, you would think they would have a go at finding the causes of the warming from 1979-2005 in order to get this monkey off their back. After all, how many possibilities are there? Either the Earth is picking up more energy (the sun), failing to radiate the previous amount of heat (clouds, pollution), or distributing heat differently(oceans) That’s it.

    The problem is that we have no good alternative explanations so far. I wonder why.

  34. Steve says:

    “Alternatively” we also have no good explanation for the plateau the climate’s temperature seems to have reached. Which is contrary to all the models continuing to predict a much higher and continuing climb current temperature.

    Climate is simply far more complex than humans currently have knowledge to explain.

    Apparently one of the biggest reasons NYC flooded in Sandy was the sea wall approach to stopping water. As the city filled in its ocean front, sea walls took the place of plants and animals that had the effect of slowing the waves. Sea walls try to stop the full power walls of water generated by storms. One writer stated sea walls should be the very last thing to be relied on for protection from storm surges. Certainly sea level rise is a contributor. I think it is a rather small one, most of the problems are indeed man made, though not what you may think.
    The biggest problem is too many people want to live at the beach.
    http://seaandskyny.com/
    http://www.acs.evsc.virginia.edu/People&planning/coastal.html

  35. Rincon says:

    We agree more than it might seem. You’re completely correct in saying that climate is simply far more complex than humans currently have knowledge to explain. The human body is also too complex for us to fully understand, but that doesn’t prevent us from identifying risk factors such as smoking. The same applies to climate. There is clear evidence of risk and no one has the knowledge to assert that the level of risk is large or small; therefore, our best option is to hedge our bets with cheap partial mitigation and adaptation if necessary.

    I agree about the sea walls, but 9 extra inches of water is still 9 inches.

  36. Steve says:

    Except one is a personal choice while the other is being forced in light of many questions.

    Adaptation should take precedence.

  37. Rincon says:

    Adaptation is automatic. There will be no choice by the time it’s needed. Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies certainly would not reduce our freedom. Fighting in three wars in the middle east to protect our oil supply and forcing citizens to pay more than $12,000 each has already sacrificed more personal choice for us than exchanging some tax revenues from income tax to a fossil fuel tax ever would.

  38. Doctors used to think smoking was good for you.

  39. Steve says:

    “Adaptation is automatic.” hence reactive. I state continually the the best (actually the only) choice is to be proactive. Mitigation is not proactive, it only attempts to make things like they “used to be” (if it has a chance of working, no one will know for more than 100 years).
    Adaptation will be shown to have the most and best impact on humans living with climate change.

  40. nyp says:

    You know, several climate scientists at MIT have placed the materials from their undergraduate course on “Global Warming Science” onto the internet.
    You can download many of the lecture notes here:

    http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/earth-atmospheric-and-planetary-sciences/12-340-global-warming-science-spring-2012/index.htm

  41. Steve says:

    Nice link.
    Note how little time and material are slated for mitigation and adaptation? (Lecture 21 not reading and very little in the lecture notes. In fact the lecture notes themselves say very few words…)

    Interesting.

  42. Rincon says:

    “if it has a chance of working, no one will know for more than 100 years”. I’m not sure what you’re referring to here, Steve. If a ton of CO2 is in the atmosphere for a hundred years, it will retain heat for a hundred years, which will make the Earth a little warmer. If it’s never released, then the Earth will heat up a little less. So what makes you think that there’s no difference?

  43. Steve says:

    Everything continues to point to extremely long lasting presence of C02 in the atmosphere. The effects remain cloudy at best. IPCC reports early on claimed the temperature would continue to increase for the next one hundred years even if we stopped all C02 emissions immediately. IPCC now gets around this by not mentioning any time frame…

    http://www.nature.com/climate/2008/0812/full/climate.2008.122.html

    If you read all the way to the end you will find a carefully worded prediction as to effects on the next ice age.
    No matter how you look at it, this is way longer than one lifetime. Its a real “take our word for it” issue, it actually borders on faith. Especially when one considers its ALL theory!

  44. Steve says:

    Like I keep saying, its all theory and no group knows enough to make any real decisions based on what is currently known about climate. Just out today. Note they make no conclusions, only mentioning the need to know more.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130724154554.htm

  45. Rincon says:

    The details are complicated. The basics are simple and not controversial:

    Mankind has elevated greenhouse gases far beyond anything the Earth has generated on its own for at least 800,000 years. This will warm the atmosphere, but no one can be sure how much. We’re monkeying with something we don’t understand, like a kid with a pack of matches. Conservatives say the same thing the kid says: “Parents (scientists) worry too much. Heck, I’ve been playing with these things for 20 minutes and nothing bad has happened”. The difference is that with global warming, bad things may or may not be happening. We can’t really tell yet – except for 9 extra inches of ocean, coral reef damage (which is huge), and some endangered species problems. Those are pretty certain.

    Interesting to note that Las Vegas may become a victim soon,,,IF the prolonged drought in the southwest has anything to do with the warming. Regarding Lake Mead, source of 90% of Las Vegas water:

    “The current lake level also is only 43 feet above a mark that would trigger a mandatory reduction in water deliveries to Nevada and Arizona. In November 2010, the reservoir water level dropped to 1,081 feet — just six feet above the mark — before a heavy winter snowfall pushed the lake level back up”.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/06/15/perilous-new-vegas-water-pipeline-claims-life/#ixzz2a1CYXbhB

  46. Steve says:

    What they do not tell you about is Lake Powell.
    Lake Powell is above Lake Mead and since the Colorado River Pact began equalizing the two quite a few years back, Lake Mead has dropped. Lake Powell has about 50% more water than Lake Mead does. Its not the first time Lake mead has been low, though it is the first time it has dropped that low in its 75 years.
    Actually, while Las Vegas does get most of its water from Lake Mead the real threat is to Southern California. You see if the lake is allowed to drop too far the hydro power sent mostly to California stops. (Las Vegas gets none of its power from the dam). Additionally California gets the lions share of water from Lake Mead. Nevada actually gets the smallest allotment.
    Moreover, the third straw is almost finished and there are plans to steal rural water from north of Vegas if needed.
    Fact is its all hype, Hydro and AG in southern California will prevent Lake Mead dropping to that level, they would empty Lake Powell long before then. If you want to see the future of the Colorado River Compact watch Lake Powell.
    http://science.time.com/2010/10/18/water-lake-mead-is-at-record-low-levels-is-the-southwest-drying-up/

    The thing that halted Vegas was in no way water limitations. It was all economic….

  47. Rincon says:

    Lake Powell isn’t so healthy either. It holds about half the water that it contained in the mid-1990’s. http://www.usbr.gov/uc/crsp/charts/displaysites.jsp?40days=n

    In truth though, I was just teasing you a bit. All they have to do in the short term is divert water from a few irrigated farms and Nevada cities would have plenty. Might create a few legal issues though.

    Don’t worry though. Even if the southwest dries up, Illinois gets plenty of rain. You can always move here. We’re even business-friendly. I think we were #35 on Thomas’ chart 🙂

  48. Steve says:

    http://www.usbr.gov/uc/water/basin/tc_cr.html

    Current reservoir levels in the upper Colorado Basin.

    Equalization of Lake Mead and Lake Powell had more to do with Lake Meads drop than actual drought conditions have, so far…
    Before equalization Powell was always lower than Mead. Sometimes dangerously low.

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