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.
That article also says that "1199ers in the major health funds such as the 1199SEIU National Benefit Fund (NBF) should see little or no change in their coverage." Just a few months later, the Journal is reporting that the SEIU is dropping its coverage for children, citing, among other things, the impact of the new healthcare law:
The fund informed its members late last month that their dependents will no longer be covered as of Jan. 1, 2011. Currently about 6,000 children are covered by the benefit fund, some until age 23.
The union fund faced a "dramatic shortfall" between what employers contributed to the fund and the premiums charged by its insurance provider, Fidelis Care, according to Mitra Behroozi, executive director of benefit and pension funds for 1199SEIU. The union fund pools contributions from several home-care agencies and then buys insurance from Fidelis.
"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."
Behroozi estimated that the fund faced a $15 million shortfall in 2011 and more in the following years for the coverage of workers' children.
(bold is my emphasis)
Wow, SEIU and LOCAL 1199, isn't this the exact argument we conservatives were making last year? Gee, it sounds so familiar. But, once this got out, they decided to clarify their position. From the same article:
1199 writes to clarify that this is only happening to one of its healthcare funds, the one that covers low-wage home healthcare workers
To clarify -- the 1199 SEIU National Benefit Fund is a separate fund that covers our hospital workers and staff, this is the largest of the funds where dependents are covered and will remain covered. The homecare fund is a smaller fund for home attendants where the funding structure is different than the large fund. There is also a different Fund for our nursing home workers. What happened occurred only in our homecare fund, not the other funds.
The fund also says that this had nothing to do with ObamaCare:
Our Fund was compelled to discontinue coverage for dependent children solely because insurance costs continued to rise, but state funding for these vulnerable, low-wage workers did not. Instead, state Medicaid funding to the home health services sector has been cut 9 separate times in just the last 3 years.
This does not explain why a letter to their members said otherwise
Hmmm...sounds like some folks don't want to be smacked down by the Obama supporters and called traitors. And, gee, wasn't this whole healthcare thingie supposed to help low wage earners get coverage? Hmmm....seems to me like I heard someone close to Obama say something that applies:
Chickens....are coming home....to roost.