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Country’s Largest Labor Organization Criticizes Affordable Care Act

The nation’s largest labor union organization, The AFL-CIO,  approved a resolution yesterday (9-11-13) saying that President Obama’s health care overhaul will drive up the costs of union-sponsored health plans to the point that workers and employers are forced to abandon them.

In a strongly worded resolution released Wednesday, the federation said that labor unions still support the Affordable Care Act’s overall goals of reducing health costs and bringing coverage to all Americans, but added that the law is being implemented in a way that is “highly disruptive” to union health care plans.

The resolution was approved at the AFL-CIO’s quadrennial convention in Los Angeles. It claims the new law will increase costs for health plans that are jointly administered by unions and smaller employers in the construction, retail, and transportation industries. That could encourage employers to hire fewer union workers or abandon the health plans altogether and force union members to seek lower quality coverage on the new health exchanges.

What’s the Impact?
In our view at The Academy for Private Duty Home Care®,  this represents another example of how difficult it is to bring about a change as complicated and as large as reforming our health care system.  This event, and other similar reactions to the way the law is being administered, will cause the Obama Administration and Congress to amend the law to take into account the elements that are not working or that are detrimental to businesses and to workers.

Today, we attended an event sponsored by The Healthcare Education Network in Louisville, KY.  The speaker, Dr. Thomas Lee, was talking about the lessons learned from the health care law in Massachusetts.  He said that the most contentious issue in health care reform is employer penalties and that we can expect additional legislation to be passed every two years to fix the problems in the law as it is implemented.

What does that mean for owners of private duty home care companies?  You can expect a decade of constant change to your business and its impact on your clients and your caregivers as this law actually gets put into place.  That’s probably not what you wanted to hear today, but it is the reality.  That means that the most successful companies in our industry will study the changes taking place, develop strategies to deal with those changes, and keep focused on growing their businesses.

As an industry, we have not dealt with this.  According to the 2013 Private Duty Benchmarking Study, 52.6% of companies have not made any decisions yet about how they will deal with the Affordable Care Act.  Here’s what companies were saying in January of 2013:

  • Have not decided – 52.6%
  • Keep employees under 30 hours – 19.9%
  • Provide health care insurance – 18.7%
  • Operate with less that 50 FT employees – 17.4%
  • Pay the penalty – 9.4%
  • Drop my health plan and pay the penalty – 1.9%

What will you be doing?  Read the article on the AFL-CIO, then tell us what you think. 

If you have not seen a copy yet, you can get a special year-end discount on the 2013 Private Duty Benchmarking Report.

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