Thursday, December 17, 2009

Unions Smell Blood

This afternoon's health care news were the statements by Andy Stern of the SEIU (reported by Jonathan Cohn) and the AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka, via Chris Good.

Here's Stern:
We know we will fight. We will continue to fight for everything we know is important. We will fight to make care affordable. We will fight for real health insurance reforms. We will fight for employers to provide their employees with coverage.  And, we will fight to pay for all of it responsibly without a tax on your benefits (his emphasis).

It ain't Churchill, but it gets the point across.  The operative sentence, I'm willing to bet, is the last one (an item that also appears as one of Trumka's demands). 

It's hard to see how they don't get their way at this point.  As far as I know, no marginal Senator has the Cadillac plan tax on his or her must-have list, so this one should be attainable pretty easily by simply accepting the House funding mechanism (taxing rich folks) instead of the Senate version.  It's hard not to see that as win-win for the bill; it puts labor back in the solid support camp at a time that Obama, Reid, and Pelosi could use a little help with the left, and taxing rich people usually polls well.  The policy wonks say that the Cadillac plan tax is important, but right now the fight is to get the thing passed, not to get the details right.  And, like the public option, the Cadillac plan tax could be pushed through reconciliation in the future, whenever actual deficit reduction happens. 

I doubt if they'll bother doing it in the manager's amendment (that is, before the bill leaves the Senate), although I suppose it's possible that Democratic Senators might want to do it as a separate amendment...either way, my guess is that the Cadillac plan tax died today.

1 comment:

  1. Good catch. I haven't seen anyone else mention this yet.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Who links to my website?