Politics & Policy

IRS Employees Just Say ‘No!’ to Obamacare

Obamacare sickens even union workers and Big Labor bosses.

Obamacare has few friends, if any, and hardly anyone likes having it around. Obamacare is like an ugly, socially awkward kid who transfers into grade school at mid-year and then spends the rest of the semester eating alone in the cafeteria while being giggled about by all the other pupils.

Obamacare is now so unpopular that even the IRS’s workers have turned on it. Amid the political-profiling, lavish-expense, and undeserved-bonus scandals plaguing America’s most hated federal agency, one would think the IRS would welcome any friend it could find. But even America’s federal tax-collection bureaucracy is bailing on Obamacare.

The National Treasury Employees Union represents IRS workers, among others at that cabinet department. Although the IRS is slated to become the brass knuckles behind Obamacare (with attendant increases in its budget and payroll), the NTEU has urged its members to write their senators and representatives and ask them to oppose H.R. 1780. Sponsored by House Ways and Means Committee chairman David Camp (R., Mich.), this bill would shift Uncle Sam’s workers from their current enrollment in the federal health system into Obamacare’s notorious exchanges. Evidently, that is too much government — even for this crowd.

The NTEU offered its members a sample letter they could send to their representatives on Capitol Hill. It read, in part, as follows:

I am very concerned about legislation that has been introduced by Congressman Dave Camp to push federal employees out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and into the insurance exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). . . . 

The primary purpose of the Affordable Care Act was to provide a marketplace for the sale and purchase of health insurance for those who do not have such coverage — not to take coverage away from employees who already receive it through their employers. 

How touching.

As loudly as the NTEU and its members may moan, Congress should ignore their pleas, pass Representative Camp’s bill, and seat the entire federal civilian work force at Obamacare’s table in the school cafeteria. This should include the IRS (which will enforce Obamacare), Congress (which passed it), the Supreme Court (which upheld it), and the White House (where Obama signed it).

Washington Democrats ignored unanimous Republican opposition and the boisterous objections of a majority of U.S. citizens. Instead, they insisted that Obamacare was what America truly needed. These liberals got what they wanted. And now they should take their government medicine — good and hard — just like every other American.

Meanwhile, the NTEU is not the first labor union to turn up its nose at Obamacare.

Last April, The Hill reported, the president of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers, and Allied Workers demanded “repeal or complete reform of the Affordable Care Act.” Joseph Hansen, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), recalled when Obama lied to the AFL-CIO in 2009 that if they liked their insurance, Obamacare would let them keep it. As Hansen wrote in an op-ed in The Hill: “The president’s statement to labor in 2009 is simply not true for millions of workers.”

In an astonishing letter to House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California and her Senate counterpart, Harry Reid of Nevada, the chiefs of three major unions blasted Obamacare in terms usually reserved for management during strikes. Teamsters president James P. Hoffa (who represents 1.25 million members), UFCW’s Hansen (1.27 million), and UNITE-HERE president Donald Taylor (251,000) let Pelosi and Reid have it:

Dear Leader Reid and Leader Pelosi:

When you and the President sought our support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you pledged that if we liked the health plans we have now, we could keep them. Sadly, that promise is under threat. Right now, unless you and the Obama Administration enact an equitable fix, the ACA will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class. . . . 

Since the ACA was enacted, we have been bringing our deep concerns to the Administration, seeking reasonable regulatory interpretations to the statute that would help prevent the destruction of non-profit health plans. As you both know first-hand, our persuasive arguments have been disregarded and met with a stone wall by the White House and the pertinent agencies. . . . 

We have a problem; you need to fix it. The unintended consequences of the ACA are severe. Perverse incentives are already creating nightmare scenarios:

First, the law creates an incentive for employers to keep employees’ work hours below 30 hours a week. Numerous employers have begun to cut workers’ hours to avoid this obligation, and many of them are doing so openly. The impact is two-fold: fewer hours means less pay while also losing our current health benefits.

Second, millions of Americans are covered by non-profit health insurance plans like the ones in which most of our members participate. . . . Under the ACA as interpreted by the Administration, our employees will [be] treated differently and not be eligible for subsidies afforded other citizens. As such, many employees will be relegated to second-class status and shut out of the help the law offers to for-profit insurance plans.

And finally, even though non-profit plans like ours won’t receive the same subsidies as for-profit plans, they’ll be taxed to pay for those subsidies. Taken together, these restrictions will make non-profit plans like ours unsustainable. . . . 

We can no longer stand silent in the face of elements of the Affordable Care Act that will destroy the very health and wellbeing of our members along with millions of other hardworking Americans. 

When Obamacare sickens union workers and Big Labor bosses — even those at the IRS — it is well past time to repeal and replace this execrable law, before it infects anyone else.

— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News Contributor, a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service, and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.