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Saturday, September 14, 2013

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and other unions were informed of President Barack Obama's decision that the unions aren't getting what they want during a meeting at the White House about the Affordable Care Act on Friday afternoon.




Obama administration denies labor’s request for health care waiver

By Ezra Klein, Published: September 13 at 6:05 pm WAPO

Organized labor was one of the Obama administration's most important allies during the passage of the Affordable Care Act. But more recently, some unions have been among the law's loudest critics.

A particular issue of contention has been so-called "Taft-Hartley plans" -- multi-employer health-care plans that unions run, and that aren't eligible for subsidies under the terms of the Affordable Care Act. The plans cover about 20 million Americans, and the government treats them as employer-based health-care plans for tax purposes.

A recent letter signed by the powerful Teamster, UNITE-HERE, and UFCW unions warned that "under the ACA as interpreted by the Administration, our employees will be treated differently and not be eligible for subsidies afforded other citizens. As such, many employees will be relegated to second-class status and shut out of the help the law offers to for-profit insurance plans."
The unions argue this will decimate membership in their plans as employers dump union workers onto public exchanges.
But the Obama administration notes these Taft-Hartley plans fail multiple tests the law sets up for insurance plans that receive subsidies. They receive the tax break given to employer-based plans and they often don't follow "guaranteed issue" rules, meaning they don't offer insurance to anyone who wants it. All of this disqualifies them from the insurance marketplaces and the associated subsidies.

The unions have mounted an aggressive effort to change the administration's mind. They argue that their plans serve a different purpose, and a different group, than traditional employer-based plans, and they deserve a waiver. That would make the plans extremely, even uniquely, attractive to employers, as they would receive both the favorable tax treatment afforded to employer-based plans and the premium subsidies available on the exchanges.

They also make a raw political argument that they helped the Obama administration pass the law, and they deserve to be taken care of during implementation. "This is especially stinging because other stakeholders have repeatedly received successful interpretations for their respective grievances," the three unions wrote in their letter. "Most disconcerting of course is last week’s huge accommodation for the employer community—extending the statutorily mandated 'December 31, 2013' deadline for the employer mandate and penalties."

Tonight, the effort failed. A senior administration official tells me that the administration "does not see a legal way for individuals in multi-employer group health plans to receive individual market tax credits as well as the favorable tax treatment associated with employer-provided health insurance at the same time." A Treasury Department letter is being released that lays out the administration's reasoning in more detail.

What the White House is willing to do is work with unions to convert their plans into qualified insurance plans that follow the rules of the marketplaces and so can qualify for subsidies in them. "The Administration will work with multi-employer plans and other non-profit plans and encourage them to offer coverage through the Marketplace, on an equal footing, to create new, high-quality, affordable options for all Americans," the official says.
Some unions are looking into that idea, but they're not necessarily happy about it. It means giving up the advantages they get by being associated with employers, and it will entail significant disruption for their members.

The AFl-CIO declined to comment.

16 comments:

  1. Sheldon Adelson talks about the conflict with Syria. Surprise: He’s for intervening, and willing to help Barack Obama make the case, whatever that might mean.

    He said he worries about missiles, and chemical and biological weapons falling into the hands of Hezbollah. And he sees the potential that America might back down after Obama drew a "red line" against use of chemical weapons in Syria as poor precedent – in the Middle East and beyond. "I wouldn't want to see North Korea come down and trample on South Korea because they think they can do it with impunity. And the same thing with Iran and Israel, and Iran and Europe,” he said.

    And so Adelson said it's time for Republicans to line up behind Obama, however they feel about him personally. "Whether we care or not about whether he loses credibility is not the issue," he said. "The issue is whether or not the United States of America loses credibility."
    But you know what? It doesn't look like this matters.

    AIPAC endorsed the idea of airstrikes early in this debate, and it moved not a single member of Congress. Haaretz noticed that, asking whether "the American Jewish establishment" had dealt itself permanent damage by revealing its total lack of influence on this issue.

    It's just not clear than any lobbying would have worked; too many members of Congress worry that displacing a secular tyranny will mean installing an Islamic one, and worry about the fate of millions of Syrian Christians. That's overwhelming the worry about Israel. It might be a watershed moment.

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    1. You can’t dance at two weddings at the same time; nor can you sit on two horses with one behind. ~ Yiddish proverb

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  2. Oh my God it's Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponte.

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  3. NSA 'routinely' shares Americans' data with Israel - Snowden leak
    http://rt.com/news/nsa-shares-...

    It's telling that MSM had no problem reporting the other Snowden links, but only a few news outlets are running this one.

    Israel is a far greater threat to world peace and prosperity than Syria. They sell our military and financial secrets to China. They murdered Americans on the USS Liberty and called it an accident. Yitzhak Shamir, the Israeli prime minister, ordered the assassination of the UN diplomat Folke Bernadote. Bernadotte was assassinated on Friday 17 September 1948 by members of the Jewish terrorist Zionist group Lehi (commonly known as the Stern Gang or Stern Group).


    Bernadotte's funeral: From left: Sir Alexander Cadogan, Ernest Bevin, George Marshall, McKenzie King.
    A three man 'center' of this extreme Jewish group had approved the killing: Yitzhak Yezernitsky (the future Prime Minister of Israel Yitzhak Shamir), Nathan Friedmann (also called Natan Yellin-Mor) and Yisrael Eldad (also known as Scheib). A fourth leader, Emmanuel Strassberg (Hanegbi) was also suspected by the Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion of being part of the group that had decided on the assassination

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  4. Trumpka Shoulda took lessons from Nature Boy about how Obama treats "friends" when push comes to shove:

    Nature Boy

    "Screw your friends and be nice to your enemies, so your enemies will become your friends, and then you can screw them too."[6]

    ReplyDelete
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    1. (Flair's back was broken in 3 places in a plane crash in 1975) - 6 months later, he flew again.

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    2. Doug you are crazier than I am. Congratulations.

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    3. If this was October 2012, Obama would give the Unions what they want.

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  5. And so Adelson said it's time for Republicans to line up behind Obama, however they feel about him personally. "Whether we care or not about whether he loses credibility is not the issue," he said. "The issue is whether or not the United States of America loses credibility."

    If the credibililty of the United States is on the line every time the POTUS shoots his mouth off, then Republicans need to support Kyoto too.

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  6. On a Saturday morning, three boys come down to the kitchen and sit around the breakfast table.

    Their mother asks the oldest boy what he’d like to eat.

    “I’ll have some firetruckin’ French toast,” he says. The mother is outraged at his crude language. She hits him and sends him upstairs.

    When she calms down, she asks the middle child what he wants. “Well, I guess that leaves more firetruckin’ French toast for me,” he says. The mom is livid. She smacks him and sends him away.

    Finally, she looks at the youngest son and asks him what he wants for breakfast.

    “I don’t know,” he says meekly, “but I definitely don’t want the firetruckin’ French toast!”

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    1. My Ma never raised her voice in my presence.

      Much.

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  7. During the Senate Judiciary Committee’s August 1 mark-up of the shield law bill aimed at protecting journalists’ sources, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) reportedly objected to the definition of journalist provided in the bill as introduced, seeking to restrict the definition’s scope to apply only to “real reporters.” To achieve her misguided goal, Sen. Feinstein has put forward an amendment to S. 987 that would greatly exacerbate the problems with the definition of who’s a journalist that existed in the bill as introduced.

    Her amendment, to be submitted for Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Il.) as well, not only retains the problematic requirement that a person “regularly” engage in journalism to enjoy shield law protections, but moreover adds new requirements that would make it especially difficult for self-publishers such as independent bloggers and citizen journalists to be protected under the law. Indeed, her new requirements for being either salaried or at least affiliated with a news “entity” seem to purposefully target these self-publishers.

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    1. Politicians and Journalists must maintain and protect the extremely high standards of their professions.

      We owe them our respect and submission.

      Godspeed, Dianne.

      PBUThem

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  8. Putin Once Annihilated a GOP Congressman in an Arm-Wrestling Contest

    About 1990, or '91, communism has just fallen and it was no longer in existence, the Soviet Union, in fact now it's Russia, and a group of young political leaders came to my office and they wanted to meet me because I'd been Reagan's speech writer. Well, I talked to them and I asked them, "Well, I by the way, I'm spending the weekend here; any of you want to play some American football with me and my buddies?" Three of them said, "Yeah, sure," so ...

    Including Putin?

    Well, I come to find out later that was Putin; I didn't know who he was then. He was the deputy mayor of St. Petersburg, that's all we knew. But he did have a HUGE bodyguard, so that did sort of give a little hint that maybe he's more important than just St. Petersburg.

    So we went out and we played touch football, and uh, Scooter Libby was one of the players and a bunch of my right-wing friends were there, and so we all went over to this pub afterwards, the Irish Times Pub ...

    Wait, wait--you skipped ahead. who won that game?

    Well it wasn't us versus them, they played on both teams, and you know we just picked up sides. But we all wound up going to this Irish Times Pub afterwards. And we were having a little bit too much to drink, I guess, but anyway we all started arguing about who won the Cold War, etc. And so we decided to settle it like men do when they've had too much to drink in the pub.

    So we got down to these arm-wrestling matches. And, uh, I ended up being paired off with Putin! And he's, uh, he's a little guy, but boy I'll tell ya, he put me down in a millisecond. He is tough. It's just BING you know, muscles are just unbelievable. And so then his bodyguard gets up and this buddy of mine says "Oh, I'll take him" and my friend put his bodyguard down.

    It was good, so, at that moment, you know, he's a tough guy and he's supposed to be a tough guy, and that's what the Russian people want, but that's no reason that we shouldn't try to work with him.

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  9. Where's the Mass Crapper?

    Meanwhile I have been speaking with my Niece about brain science.

    Not sure I get it all but most of it seems to apply to Quirk-O.

    And all of it to Mass Crapper.

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