HATCH TO UNIONS: WORK WITH ME TO PERMANENTLY DELAY OBAMACARE

WASHINGTON – Responding to criticisms of the President’s health law by three of the nation’s largest labor unions, Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) invited the presidents of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, United Food and Commercial Workers, and Unite Here to work with him to permanently delay the entire law for all Americans in a letter today. Earlier this month, the unions, who had previously championed the President’s signature domestic achievement, complained about the adverse impact the new law has on union-sponsored health insurance plans to the Democratic leadership in Congress.

“Since your activities to encourage changes to the law have, to date, been unsuccessful, I want to invite you to join me in an effort to help the Obama Administration and Congress understand the full impact the law has had and will continue to have on the labor and health insurance markets once it is fully implemented and call for a permanent delay on the law until we are able to come up with a plan that will achieve the law’s stated goals of reducing healthcare costs and improving access,” wrote Hatch.

“I hope you will accept my invitation to provide relief from the law to all Americans and ensure that the law will no longer threaten access to insurance, increase costs, or deny individuals from keeping their existing health insurance plans as the President had promised,” Hatch concluded.

A signed copy of the letter can be found HERE and the text of the letter is below:

July 18, 2013

James Hoffa
President
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
25 Louisiana Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001

Joseph T. Hansen
President
United Food and Commercial Workers
1775 K Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006

D. Taylor
President
Unite Here
1775 K Street, N.W. Suite 620
Washington, D.C. 20006

Dear Messrs. Hoffa, Hansen, and Taylor:

I write to express my agreement with the concerns you have outlined in letters to the Obama Administration and Congress regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as the Affordable Care Act, which we all can agree is  a title that does not ring true.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi you expressed concerns regarding the rising cost of union-sponsored health insurance plans as a result of PPACA.  Specifically, you noted that the President’s health care law threatened to make these  plans, of which 20 million people are currently enrolled, less competitive and more difficult to offer to your members.  Similar concerns were expressed earlier this year calling the rising cost of coverage “not acceptable.” 

Your letter also highlighted the fact that, as a result of the law’s mandate on employers to offer insurance to full-time employees – defined as those working more than 30 hours per week –  businesses are opting to reduce workers’ hours in order to avoid paying additional costs and fines.  I agree with your assessment that the law will “destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.” 

My colleagues here in Congress – members of both parties – have highlighted similar concerns with the law.  Some have suggested it will be a “train wreck,” and others have introduced and cosponsored numerous pieces of legislation that will repeal individual provisions that lead to higher costs and fewer work hours. 

Since your activities to encourage changes to the law have, to date, been unsuccessful, I want to invite you to join me in an effort to help the Obama Administration and Congress understand the full impact the law has had and will continue to have on the labor and health insurance markets once it is fully implemented and call for a permanent delay on the law until we are able to come up with a plan that will achieve the law’s stated goals of reducing healthcare costs and improving access. 

We know today that costs are skyrocketing and estimates on coverage continue to drop as confidence in the administration’s ability to get the health insurance exchanges up and running dwindles.  This is in addition to the confusion that has been created by delaying the employer mandate, but providing no relief to individuals who will be subject to a penalty for not purchasing health insurance.

I hope you will accept my invitation to provide relief from the law to all Americans and ensure that the law will no longer threaten access to insurance, increase costs, or deny individuals from keeping their existing health insurance plans as the President had promised.

Sincerely,

Orrin G. Hatch
Ranking Member
Senate Finance Committee 

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