Health care is a complex matter, one that Congress is attempting to tackle again with the rollout of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). But no matter how one might feel about the latest legislation, there should be something everyone can agree on – workers shouldn’t be punished for having high-quality health insurance benefits.
Republicans on Capitol Hill say they want to revamp health care in part because it burdens too many hard-working Americans. Then why late last week did they lead the charge against two amendments to the AHCA offered in a House committee that would have permanently repealed the so-called “Cadillac Tax” levied on such insurance plans?
This excise tax, which imposes a 40 percent surcharge on high-quality health insurance offerings often earned by union workers, hits middle-class families hard. Ultimately, it will lead to an increase in their health care plans as insurers pass along the added costs to participants.
“Congress should be looking for ways to strengthen the middle class instead of promoting policies that will ultimately take money from their hard-earned paychecks and reduce, and make more costly, the health care benefits they receive,” Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said.
Instead, lawmakers decided to penalize these constituents, even though many let them know they were looking for improved health care coverage, not a more expensive insurance. It’s just the latest example of the rich getting a free pass while the people who can least afford it foot the bill.
Why should workers be penalized for having good health care? In the case of union workers, these plans have been included in benefit packages. They negotiated to get these insurance plans, trading more generous wages in exchange. What business is it of the government to intervene in such an agreement between employers and employees?
There certainly is a valid argument that the current health care set up could be improved upon. Very few would argue otherwise. Getting rid of the so-called “Cadillac Tax” is one such example. Workers shouldn’t have to pay out for having good insurance, especially when the affluent are getting tax breaks under the deal.