Thursday, April 26, 2018
Business

PolitiFact: Utah Sen. Mike Lee says unions call Obamacare bad for workers

The statement

Unions call Obamacare "bad for workers."

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, in an op-ed

The ruling

A cadre of congressional Republicans would like to defund Obamacare and would be willing to risk a government shutdown to make that happen. A leading voice in the Senate is Mike Lee of Utah. Lee says the law is so bad, even key Democratic allies don't like it.

"By a margin of two to one, Americans say Obamacare will make their family's health care situation worse, not better. Just 12 percent support the individual mandate. Doctors don't want it. Businesses oppose it. Unions say it's bad for workers," Lee wrote in an op-ed in USA Today.

That last group, the unions, caught our eye. Organized labor is one of the pillars of the Democratic Party and lobbied for passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Lee's office pointed us to a press release and a letter. The press release from United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers called for "repeal or complete reform of President Obama's Affordable Care Act." The letter came from three of the larger unions in the country: the Teamsters, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, and UNITE HERE, which represents hotel workers. Those three unions sent a dire warning to the Democratic leaders in the House and Senate.

Why?

Many unions offer health insurance through unusual plans that allow large and small employers to buy coverage as a group, and some of the unions that are involved in these plans have big objections to the health care law.

Randy DeFrehn is executive director of the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans, a sort of trade association for these insurance groups. DeFrehn said at least six unions have gone public with their objections to Obamacare. Behind the scenes, he said, the number is larger.

"Altogether, there are a dozen or more out there," DeFrehn said. "They don't all want to come out against the administration, but they are worried about the unintended consequences of the law."

One central problem with the law, in the unions' view, is the threat it poses to the kind of health insurance their members enjoy today. Just as there are different insurance companies, there are different union insurance plans, about 3,000.

These plans are often called Taft-Hartley plans after the federal labor law that created them. And here's the rub: The Affordable Care Act creates insurance exchanges that will present employers with a new alternative to the current union insurance.

"The unions think it will be cheaper for employers to drop out of the Taft-Hartley plans and go on the health exchange," said Paul Secunda, a labor law professor at Marquette University Law School. "This puts pressure on the unions who want to keep workers satisfied."

Another issue for unions is how the law treats part-time workers. While the law encourages employers to provide insurance, there are two primary escape clauses. Companies with fewer than 50 full-time workers face no requirement to offer it. And no employer need provide coverage to anyone working less than 30 hours each week.

Bottom line: Lee is right that some unions oppose the health care law. But the union community is not monolithic, and some large unions continue to support the Affordable Care Act as much as ever.

We rate the claim Mostly True.

Jon Greenberg, Times staff writer

Comments
Cities turn to private inspectors as construction booms, and problems follow

Cities turn to private inspectors as construction booms, and problems follow

ST. PETERSBURG --- With construction booming throughout Florida, private inspectors are increasingly reviewing the work of building contractors. But that has sometimes led to missed code violations and other problems.Now the city of St. Petersburg is...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
Engaged couple opens chiropractic practice for all ages on W Hillsborough Ave

Engaged couple opens chiropractic practice for all ages on W Hillsborough Ave

TAMPA — Dr. Kaylee Canalungo and Dr. Kace Groff were attending Palmer College of Chiropractic in different states when a mutual friend introduced them. After graduating and working together at a chiropractic office in New York, they are engaged to be...
Updated: 7 minutes ago

Clean Juice gets 3rd spot in Hyde Park Village

Michelle Piniella forecast about another South Tampa Clean Juice location in March, and now it’s official. The healthy, fresh juice concept has secured a lease with Hyde Park Village.The opening date is to be announced this summer as it is currently ...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Cuban cuisine transformed at Armature Works

Cuban cuisine transformed at Armature Works

DOWNTOWN — Felicia Lacalle says cuban cooking is in her blood as she traditionally learned from her mother growing up. Since then she has perfected her craft finding ways to recreate classic dishes with a modern twist and now she aims to change the C...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Focus crossover and Mustang will be only Ford sedans sold in North American dealerships

Focus crossover and Mustang will be only Ford sedans sold in North American dealerships

DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday it will shed most of its North American car lineup as part of broad plan to save money and make the company more competitive in a fast-changing marketplace.The changes include getting rid of all cars in...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands beats Wall Street forecast in first quarter

Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands beats Wall Street forecast in first quarter

TAMPA — Outback Steakhouse parent company Bloomin’ Brands reported first-quarter earnings of $65.4 million and a 68 cents net income per share.The locally based company, which also owns Carrabba’s and Bonefish Grill, posted $1.12 billion in revenue. ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Why does Yelp think Asian restaurants serve cat and dog meat?

Why does Yelp think Asian restaurants serve cat and dog meat?

A strange thing happened when typing "dog menu" into the restaurant ratings website and app Yelp. It automatically generated suggested searches. There were dog massage, hot dogs, pet groomers. Also: "dog meat." But it got more disturbing. Take Yelp...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Duke Energy announces new Florida leadership

Duke Energy announces new Florida leadership

ST. PETERSBURG — The head of Duke Energy Florida is leaving his post to take a new role with the utility’s parent company June 1, the company announced on Wednesday. Harry Sideris, 47, was appointed this week to serve as vice president a...
Updated: 7 hours ago
As more emotional support animals fly on U.S. airlines, Congress eyes new ways to tighten the leash

As more emotional support animals fly on U.S. airlines, Congress eyes new ways to tighten the leash

WASHINGTON — With hundreds of thousands of emotional support animals taking to the skies on U.S. airlines, Congress may start pulling a tighter leash.Two new legislative options emerged this week to address a hairy issue for American Airlines, Southw...
Published: 04/25/18

Comcast challenges Murdoch with rival bid for U.K.-based Sky

LONDON — U.S. media giant Comcast on Wednesday offered $30.7 billion for Sky PLC, topping a bid from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox and setting up a bidding war for Britain’s biggest satellite TV company.Comcast said it would pay approximately $17...
Published: 04/25/18