Friday the Obama administration denied the request of unions for a fix to the Affordable Care Act. The Treasury Department issued a letter which concluded that participants in union health plans could be considered for government subsidies to premiums to low and lower middle income individuals only if the union plans were offered on the health care exchanges to the general public.
See Wonkblog, Obama administration denies labor’s request for health care waiver, for an educated layperson’s guide to the union position and the administration’s stance.
…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 argue this will decimate membership in their plans as employers dump union workers onto public exchanges.
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.
The Church Pension Group of The Episcopal Church, and other denominations, have vocally sought a fix through legislation that would make “low and modest” income members of their plans, not offered to the public, eligible for public subsidies. See Episcopal Cafe: CPG advocates for Church Health Plan bill (August 12, 2013) including the link there to the CPG statement, Proposed Church Health Plan Act of 2013.
Has the CPG made the case for why TEC’s Denomination Health Plan should be able to receive the benefit of public subsidies even though it is not a public plan?
Has the CPG explained how it would apply the legislation it seeks so that it the benefits would go to low and modest income clergy and lay employees?
Might the CPG be concerned some dioceses or parishes will lobby the church to be released from the denomination health plan if the public exchanges become more attractive? (Might some dioceses or parishes want to “dump their employees onto the public exchanges” if the legislative fix does not become law?)