Union Health Dependent on Obamacare

The Obama administration through Obamacare (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) steadily gives competitive advantages to Big Labor. Benefits for top political donors of the administration are lavished with handouts and job opportunities. The latest provision in Obamacare is a two-for-one in favor of Big Labor.

Background of advantages dealt to Big Labor through Obamacare so far:

  • 40 percent of health care waivers went to unions, while unions represent only 11.9 percent of workforce;
  • ERRP, a $5 billion taxpayer-subsidy program for early-retirement medical costs — the UAW was the top recipient at $206.8 million;
  • Overall, it keeps union benefit funds solvent.

Obamacare disproportionately subsidizes and maintains unions’ health care coverage. Section 4101 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the latest federal government concession for Big Labor. The provision awards federal grants to construct and supply school-based health centers (SBHC) within states. These programs received $50 million for fiscal years 2010-2013.

As directed by the legislation, the funds may be used for the construction, operation, and maintenance of SBHCs, including the salaries for additional state government employees.

The use of funding to create school-based health centers is a comprehensive sop for labor unions. Jobs created in the public sector are disproportionately unionized, 36.2 percent compared to the private sector’s 6.9 percent. Creating SBHCs forms a plethora of new government jobs in administration, health, and counseling that will be quickly unionized. SBHCs not only produce unionized workforce involving the operation and management, this provision appropriates funds for the construction of the facilities.

The construction of SBHCs in all certainty will use unionized construction. Earlier in the year, Obama issued a labor-friendly executive order mandating that all federally funded construction projects over $25 million use PLAs — in other words, a union workforce. Even though the construction for SBHCs will not meet the $25 million benchmark, the states will be heavily influenced to use a union workforce or miss out on the federal handout.

The Obama administration is creating prime opportunities for union officials to unionize workers, increasing the dues paid to unions. In turn, unions generously donate to elect favorable officials. Some in Congress have targeted this federal aid and look to repeal and defund the provision in proposed bill H.R. 1214. Defunding this preferential treatment prevents taxpayers from excessively benefiting union workers.