Ultimately, the Obama administration granted Obamacare waivers to 1,231 employers, making them exempt from the law’s requirements for at least 30 months. Those waivers cover 613,625 employees overall, of which 88.6 percent are represented by unions and just 11.4 percent work for private employers. (RELATED: Labor unions primary recipients of Obamacare waivers)
Unions’ support for President Obama’s health care reform vision was initially tepid after his inauguration because he proposed paying for some of the legislation’s cost by levying a 40 percent excise tax on unusually expensive insurance plans.
These so-called “Cadillac” plans, which feature low deductibles and offer benefits covering expensive treatments that other plans exclude, were common among unions themselves — meaning that the unions lobbied for Obamacare despite the fact that it promised to upgrade the insurance plans of relatively few of their members.
But the administration later agreed to a moratorium on taxing those Cadillac plans, giving labor unions until 2018 to lobby for other ways to spare themselves the extra cost.
That delay added nearly an extra $120 billion to Obamacare’s overall calculated cost, a shortfall that the law made up by making additional cuts to Medicare Advantage, the “Medicare Part C” program that allows some senior citizens to receive benefits through private insurance companies.