Yesterday, CQ's Drew Armstrong had a story with the headline, "Labor Unions' Campaign Targets Wyden's Proposed Cap on Benefits Reduction."
From his article:
The ads, called “Stop Wyden’s Health Tax,” are sponsored by Oregon chapters of national labor unions in an effort to defend their members from having any portion of their health benefits taxed. Wyden, D-Ore., has proposed a cap on the tax deduction for employer health care benefits.Ya think? Sort of like, "Was that dead horse head in the guy's bed in Godfather 1 meant to send a message?"
The $60,000 advertising buy will run in the Portland and Eugene markets. It is being paid for by local chapters of AFSCME, the National Education Association, and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.
Labor groups on the conference call declined to comment on whether the ads were meant as a shot across the bow of Baucus and others. Instead, they said they were waiting to see the legislation.
America's labor unions have been at the front of the parade calling for everyone to come together and accomplish health care reform. They have been quick to point out the problems with insurers, drug companies, and all of the other special interests and haven't been shy about taking the moral high ground.
I doubt there is literally anyone in this debate (including these guys) that, at least privately, wouldn't agree that rich benefit programs are contributors toward our high health care inflation.
So what happens when a Senator makes a constructive proposal, thinks outside the box, reaches out to fellow Democrats and Republicans, and crafts a health care proposal an impressive number of both Democratic and Republican Senators have signed onto?
He gets a dead horse head in his bed with the clear message he won't be the last if he and his colleagues don't tow the line.
How much of a threat is Wyden’s plan to these unions' members anyway? The Healthy Americans Act would limit the amount workers could exclude from taxes to $6,025 annually for an individual. Married couples with children could deduct $15,210, plus an additional $2,000 per dependent child.
That compared to the average cost for family health insurance at just under $13,000 a year. So, families that have health plans costing more than $2,000 over the average have nothing to worry about.
Talk about taking the moral high ground.
Like the Healthy Americans Act or not you can't fault the creative bipartisan effort being made here.
This is how they reward a legislator back in Oregon who thinks outside the box and has accomplished more to date than any other member of Congress in crafting a bipartisan solution to a big problem?