(WASHINGTON) – Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa today applauded President Obama and Congress for enacting historic health care reform, providing health insurance to millions of Americans who don’t have it and controlling costs for millions more who do.
Hoffa urged the Senate to swiftly pass a companion bill to the House measure that includes President Obama’s proposal to exempt all Americans from an excise tax on health care plans until 2018.
“It was critical that Congress pass this bill to help get our economy moving again,” Hoffa said. “High health care costs are burdening our employers and taking away our competitive edge in the global economy.
“The Senate should follow the House’s lead and spare everyone from the proposed tax on health insurance plans. It doesn’t make sense to tax workers who already pay more for health care because of factors they don’t control – like insurance companies with regional monopolies or the demographics of the group they’re in. The Teamsters will continue to fight against this unreasonable tax.
“As originally proposed, 80 percent of the people affected by the excise tax would not be members of unions. We fought against this tax on behalf of all working people – union and nonunion – because it was the right thing to do.”
Much of the health care reform legislation won’t take effect until 2013, including the requirement that everyone obtain health insurance. But immediate changes will take place now that the bill has been signed by President Obama.
The Affordable Health Care for America Act:
Requires health plans that offer dependent coverage for children to make it available up to age 26;
Creates a temporary reinsurance program to help companies that provide early retiree health benefits for people ages 55-64;
Forbids insurance companies from excluding coverage for children because of pre-existing conditions;
Prohibits insurance companies from cancelling policies when a person gets sick;
Provides a $250 rebate for all Part D enrollees who enter the donut hole (Between $2,700 and $6,154 in total costs);
Gives immediate access to coverage for people with pre-existing conditions;
Eliminates lifetime and annual coverage limits.
The Teamsters Union was founded in 1903 and represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Follow the Teamsters Union on www.Teamster.org and Twitter at www.twitter.com/TeamsterPower.