SEIU Local 1199, which organizes health care workers, was one of the most outspoken advocates of Obamacare. As reported by The New York Times in August 2009, the former head of Local 1199 took the lead in promoting Obamacare:
For more than a decade, Dennis Rivera was New York’s mightiest labor leader, running a union of 300,000 health care workers that often bent Albany to its will as it scared — and angered — governors, Democratic and Republican, with its hard-hitting ads.
Two summers ago, Mr. Rivera stepped down from that post and largely disappeared. But now, as President Obama’s health care push has run into trouble, Mr. Rivera has emerged as a central player in the effort to save Mr. Obama’s effort.Things are not working out as expected for Local 1199, just like for the rest of the nation. Obamacare is having "unexpected" consequences.
Mr. Rivera is the point man on health reform for the nation’s most politically powerful union, the Service Employees International Union, which is doing more than any other union to push for health legislation. In many ways, the White House is looking to the S.E.I.U. to lead labor in doing the blocking and tackling necessary for Mr. Obama to carry the ball forward.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the SEIU Local 1199 health plan will have to drop coverage for children due in substantial part to Obamacare requirements:
One of the largest union-administered health-insurance funds in New York is dropping coverage for the children of more than 30,000 low-wage home attendants, union officials said. The union blamed financial problems it said were caused by the state’s health department and new national health-insurance requirements....Actually, I take no joy in Local 1199's problems. But I also find it hard to feel sorry for them, since it was Local 1199's efforts which caused the problems in the first place, for all of us.
The fund informed its members late last month that their dependents will no longer be covered as of Jan. 1, 2011. Currently about 6,000 children are covered by the benefit fund, some until age 23.
The union fund faced a “dramatic shortfall” between what employers contributed to the fund and the premiums charged by its insurance provider, Fidelis Care, according to Mitra Behroozi, executive director of benefit and pension funds for 1199SEIU. The union fund pools contributions from several home-care agencies and then buys insurance from Fidelis.
“In addition, new federal health-care reform legislation requires plans with dependent coverage to expand that coverage up to age 26,” Behroozi wrote in a letter to members Oct. 22. “Our limited resources are already stretched as far as possible, and meeting this new requirement would be financially impossible.”
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