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“Tax is a Kick in the Face for the Working Class”
Washington, D.C. (July 28, 2015) – LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – today joined the launch of “Fight the 40,” a diverse alliance dedicated to the repeal of a looming 40-percent tax on healthcare benefits under the Affordable Care Act.
“Those who argue that this tax won’t affect working families or force health plans to slash benefits aren’t living in the real world,” LIUNA General President Terry O’Sullivan said during a news conference announcing the launch of the alliance. “The tax is a kick in the face to every hard-working, middle-class, and blue-collar American family already facing steep increases in health care costs.”
Under the ACA, healthcare plans surpassing set cost thresholds will be subject to the tax starting in 2018. While touted as a way to fund the ACA by taxing extravagant executive plans, experts say the tax could quickly affect the majority of healthcare plans.
“Eighty-two percent of the employers surveyed by employer consulting firm Towers-Watson expect to be slammed by this unwise, unjust, and unfair excise tax within the first five years of its implementation,” O’Sullivan said. Forty-eight percent expect to be affected in the first year of implementation.
O’Sullivan joined the American Benefits Council, the Corporate Health Care Coalition, UNITE HERE, the superintendent of the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District and Congressmen Frank Guinta and Joe Courtney at the news conference. Rep. Guinta (R-N.H.) and Rep. Courtney (D- Ct.) have introduced bi-partisan legislation to repeal the tax.
“The diversity of this group underscores the level of concern about the far-reaching and disastrous impact the 40-percent tax will have,” O’Sullivan said.
To avoid the tax, many plans are likely to strip away coverage, resulting in less care and lower-quality care, not more affordable care.
O’Sullivan said the tax is particularly offensive to workers and their families in multi-employer healthcare plans. Nationally, an estimated 20 million people including LIUNA members, their families and retirees covered by multi-employer plans would be affected.
“This tax threatens the health and welfare benefits that generations of Laborers have fought for, gone out on strike for, even laid down their lives for,” he said. “As insurance premiums have risen, our members, negotiating with their employers, have chosen to pay those premiums and maintain quality health care. They knew that without this insurance, they would be one illness away from financial disaster, and from being a drag on our nation’s health care system.”
O’Sullivan said LIUNA is encouraged by the bi-partisan effort to repeal the tax and will work with like-minded officials who will take a stand against a policy that lowers “quality healthcare for the working class and the middle class.”
The half-million members of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – are on the forefront of the construction industry, a powerhouse of workers who are proud to build America.