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              FILE - In this June 7, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama gestures during a statement about the Affordable Care Act, Friday, in San Jose, Calif. Nothing’s ever easy with President Barack Obama’s health care law. The latest hitch gives employers an additional year before they must offer medical coverage to their workers or pay a fine. What does the delay mean for workers? And struggling businesses? And is it a significant setback for a law already beset by court challenges, repeal votes and a rush of deadlines for making health insurance available to nearly all Americans next year?  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Another union decries Obamacare’s impact on members’ healthcare coverage

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

Another union is crying foul over what it says is Obamacare’s negative impact on its members’ current healthcare coverage under multi-employer plans.

“If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what,” the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) quotes a speech President Obama delivered on July 16, 2009 in new ads running in Roll Call and The Hill.

According to the union, the multi-employer plans IBEW has used for over 65 years to provide coverage for their members are at risk, thanks to what it terms “loopholes in the Affordable Care Act.”

“The ACA threatens the viability of multi-employer health plans in four ways: 1) the high employee threshold of the employer mandate 2) the re-insurance fee, 3) the definition of qualified health plans, and 4) the lack of multi-employer specific administrative guidance. We believe it may be impossible to reverse the damage done to these plans if these issues are not resolved. The IBEW cannot afford to sit on the sidelines at the ACA threatens to harm our members by dismantling multi-employer plans,” the IBEW explains in a statement released Thursday.

The union estimates Obamacare could negatively affect the multi-employer health plans of some 26 million Americans. According to IBEW president Edwin D. Hill, however, the union remains a supporter of Obamacare’s mission — but the administration must make concessions for these plans.

“[Our] members and allied employers have worked hard for the healthcare they have, and President Obama must move now to guarantee that his signature law will not cost them their coverage,” Hill said in a statement.

IBEW is the latest union to voice concern about the coming impact of Obamacare implementation on their membership.

In recent months unions like the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, The International Brotherhood of Teamsters and UNITE HERE have all been looking for alterations to the law.

UFCW president Joseph Hansen called on Obama in May to help his members keep their original coverage by extending tax subsidies to the plans.

“The ACA offers a subsidy to lower-income individuals and families so they can afford to purchase this insurance. As many of our members fall into this category, we believe the subsidy can and should apply to nonprofit plans. All we want is equality — where our plans are treated the same as for-profit insurers,” Hansen wrote in an op-ed at The Hill.

In April, United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers called for “for repeal or complete reform of the Affordable Care Act” in order to protect such plans.

“For decades, our multi-employer health and welfare plans have provided the necessary medical coverage for our members and their families to protect them in times of illness and medical needs. This collaboration between labor and management has been a model of success that should be emulated rather than ignored. I refuse to remain silent, or idly watch as the ACA destroys those protections,” United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers president Kinsey M. Robinson said in a statement.

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