Powerful SEIU chapter in New York cuts insurance for members' children — cites health care law

Live by big government, die by big government:

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.

The fund is administered by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. Union officials said the state compelled the fund to start buying coverage from a third party, which increased premiums by 60%. State health officials denied forcing the union fund to make the switch, saying the fund had been struggling financially even before the switch to third-party coverage.

As if that weren't bad enough, the so-called “slacker mandate” in Obamacare is specifically cited as a reason for the decision to cut off insurance to the union's children:

“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.”

Over at The Atlantic, Megan McArdle notes that this move actually has more political significance than it might seem, considering 1199's extensive record of lobbying for health care:

Perhaps you have to be familiar with New York politics to understand how truly bizarre this story is: 1199 is dropping its health care coverage for children.  1199 is the extraordinarily powerful local health care workers' union which has pushed New York State's Medicaid reimbursements into the stratosphere.  The state not only has much higher than average Medicaid enrollment, but also spends more per-enrollee than any state but Alaska.  Every time a governor tries to cut into, say, the funds for home health care workers, the union runs tear jerking ads which imply that the governor is trying to end health care for everyone in the state.

Naturally, 1199–and its national parent–were a powerful force advocating for a national health care program.  An article on their website from June speaks approvingly of PPACA as a “first step”, though also complains that it didn't go far enough in creating a public option.

Now why didn't anyone in the health care debate warn these people of the unintended consequences? Oh, right. They did — loudly.

Beltway Confidentialhealth careObamacareUS

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