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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Read the Union Health-Care Label

Tucked away in thousands of pages of complex new rules, regulations and mandates are special privileges and giveaways that could have devastating consequences for the health-care sector and the American economy at large.

The Senate version opens the door to implement forced unionization schemes pursued by former Govs. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois in 2005 and Gray Davis of California in 1999. Both men repaid tremendous political debts to Andy Stern and his Service Employees International Union (SEIU) by reclassifying state-reimbursed in-home health-care (and child-care) contractors as state employees—and forcing them to pay union dues.

The current House version of ObamaCare (H.R. 3200) goes much further. Section 225(A) grants Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius tremendous discretionary authority to regulate health-care workers "under the public health insurance option." Monopoly bargaining and compulsory union dues may quickly become a required standard resulting in potentially hundreds of thousands of doctors and nurses across the country being forced into unions.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus has suggested that the federal government could pay for health-care reform by taxing American workers' existing health-care benefits—but he would exempt union-negotiated health-care plans. Under Mr. Baucus's scheme, the government could impose costs of up to $20,000 per employee on nonunion businesses already struggling to afford health care plans.

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