WHEREAS, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters has historically been at the forefront on health issues and continues to be so today; and
WHEREAS, Teamster multiemployer health and welfare funds have provided good health care benefits to Teamster members and their families for over six decades and should be protected, preserved and, if possible enhanced; and
WHEREAS, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which was signed into law on March 23, 2010, is an admirable first step toward expanding health care access to uninsured and underinsured Americans and reducing the cost of health care for all Americans; and
WHEREAS, PPACA addresses many of the flawed U.S. insurance industry practices that have contributed to soaring health care costs for all Americans and to the existence of roughly 50 million uninsured Americans; and
WHEREAS, PPACA provides for federal funding and administrative mechanisms through national and state health care exchanges that are intended to significantly reduce
the number of uninsured and underinsured Americans beginning in 2014, a change which is intended to reduce the financial pressure on individual and group purchasers of health insurance caused by the widespread shifting of health care costs from the uninsured to individuals and groups purchasers of health insurance; and
WHEREAS, PPACA already has required insurers to extend health coverage to many Americans under age 26 and to children with pre-existing conditions, has reduced the waiting periods for coverage imposed by most insurers, has increased the maximum limits on individual health care claims in order to prevent ailing Americans from filing for bankruptcies as a result of unsustainable medical costs and has removed the incentive for employees to stay with an employer when they have a chronic illness covered by that employer’s health plan; and
WHEREAS, PPACA is fostering the development of accountable care organizations and value-based purchasing within Medicare to provide examples of ways to promote more responsible care-giving designed to improve the quality of the health care provided to Americans, to improve the overall health of all Americans and to reign in soaring health care spending; and
WHEREAS, despite all of the achievement and potential achievements of PPACA, however, certain provisions of PPACA could adversely affect Teamster multiemployer health and welfare funds by preventing those funds from purchasing health coverage for their Teamster participants and their families in the national and state health care exchanges beginning in 2014 while, at the same time, providing no financial incentive for Teamster employers to maintain health care coverage for their employees in Teamster multiemployer health and welfare funds; and
WHEREAS, PPACA also does not allow individuals who receive medical and other health benefits from Teamster and other multiemployer health and welfare funds to receive the financial subsidies they would otherwise be entitled to receive if they were allowed to participate in the health care exchanges; and
WHEREAS, federal money has been appropriated and made available to fund demonstration health care innovation projects approved by the federal government that are designed to encourage payers, providers and patients to experiment with new protocols and more efficient methods of operation to assist in controlling health care costs, improving the quality of the health care provided to Americans and improving the overall health of the American populace; and
WHEREAS, certain budgetary proposals are currently being considered at the federal level that would cause the entire value of premiums paid for any and all medical and other health-related benefits provided to employees under an employer-sponsored health plan to be taxed to the employees as ordinary income, in addition to the “Cadillac”
tax that will already be imposed on alleged “high cost” health and welfare plans beginning in 2018.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the International Brotherhood of Teamsters generally supports both the goals of the PPACA and its continued implementation but firmly opposes taxing working Americans on the value of the premiums paid for their employer-sponsored health benefits and firmly opposes any regulations issued under PPACA or interpretations of PPACA that would encourage employers to stop providing health care coverage for their employees through Teamster and other multiemployer health and welfare funds; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this 28th Convention of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters encourages all Teamster-affiliated health and welfare funds and Teamster local unions to support legislative and regulatory efforts to implement PPACA in a manner that preserves and protects Teamster multiemployer health and welfare funds and creates innovative health care methodologies that will contain health care costs, improve the health of Teamster members and their families and create opportunities for this Union to grow and provide our members and their families with access to affordable, high-quality health care.