Labor Leader Admits ObamaCare Woes

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Michael Bonfigli / Michael Bonfigli

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka speaks at the St. Regis Hotel on August 29, 2013 in Washington, DC.

The head of the nation’s largest federation of unions admitted “we made some mistakes” in writing ObamaCare Thursday at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in downtown DC. The head of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, said he was surprised that employers have reduced workers’ hours below 30-a-week to avoid an employer penalty scheduled to go into effect in 2015.

“That is obviously something that no one intended. No one intended the act to result in people working fewer hours just so they [employers] don’t have to pay for healthcare,” said Trumka. “So that’s something that needs to be addressed. Is that an issue? Yeah that’s an issue.”

Local governments, movie theater chains, and fast-food restaurants have announced cut backs in hours due to ObamaCare. Last week, Reuters reported that an effort to reduce hours “might have helped push the average work week down to a six-month low in July.” Yet some, like the Washington Post‘s Sarah Kliff, have noted that the vast majority of large employers haven’t dodged the requirement.

When asked if he would accept a change in ObamaCare’s definition of full-time work, as some legislators have suggested, Trumka responded, “Of course we would,” but didn’t elaborate on what the change would be.

The selling of ObamaCare to the American public has become an obsession in the White House. Yet the implementation has had its share of bumps, including the announcement in July that the employer mandate requirement would be delayed until 2015. Trumka at the time called the move “troubling.”  Another “mistake” was dropping the public option, Trumka said at the breakfast.

But overall Trumka is pleased with the health care law, calling it a “major step in the right direction” that “still needs to be tweaked.”

40 comments

publius327
publius327

This phenomenon of regulatory "unintended consequences" is decades and DECADES old.

The way one doesn't see this coming is to decide to pretend that the world began yesterday.

publius327
publius327

The Left: Helping Americans earn less, one law at a time.

sherlocktoo
sherlocktoo

Vote buying at the taxpayers expense!  That is what obamacare was for, period.  Many illegals were already covered in blue states under medicaid (welfare), and medicaid increases in the budget could not be justified by any average thinking american.  Therefore, democrats had a brainstorm to throw everyone into the same coverage, and they would only talk about how much better it was going to be for those on medicare (you know, those who had worked for a living).  Never a word about how much more would be spent to cover all with the same minimal coverage, and all those savings were robbed from medicare, but don't expect the msm to inform americans with the truth.  Replays and reprints of the famous quote about keeping your own doctor, is just now starting to be exposed by the media.  And everyone laughing at Sarah's quote about death panels, are just now starting to become a reality.  Now we must endure 3.5 more years of this idiocy from a "gotta get the votes from the fools" administration.  If congress is smart after the midterms, they will begin a repeal effort like has never been before, and it might just save this president's legacy and the democrat party.  Strange as it seems, this is exactly what needs to be done.

blam7
blam7

It's great to see that unions doubled down on the "We Brought You the 40 Work Week" Shtick by lowering it to a 30 Hour Work Week.

JasonEdwardPrather
JasonEdwardPrather

Who gives you the right to complain Trumka?! you wanted Obamascare! You got it! Hopefully the IRS will beat down your door and demand you get it so i can have a good laugh at your expense!

SusanCharlene
SusanCharlene

I am not anti union though I have no clue why federal employers need a union,  Having said this, the democrats obsession with equal outcome regardless of input, is becoming a major problem for those who are busting their tail to better their own lot in life.  

The push to control every aspect of health insurance from the who, what, when, where, why and how perspective is a total fail.  Piece it out starting with those who have preexisting conditions and are priced out of the market.


When 85% of American's already have health insurance that they are satisfied with, I see no need to take over the entire industry and screw the majority in this country.


The ideals of democrats and republicans are the same.  We all want the same end goal.  How we get there is the debate which we no longer get to have because democrats have successfully labeled anyone who isnt a democrat a racist, greedy, homophobe who wants to support big business over everything else.  Frankly, it is the democrats who support big business at the detriment of small start ups.  


kanemakua
kanemakua

Coming from a State where employer provided health has been mandatory since the 70's, I don't understand the doomsday scenarios that businesses will be bankrupt and businesses will choose to shut their doors rather than provide healthcare to their workers.  Certainly, even with the flaws and abuses in the system having coverage for all full-time workers of the State has been a good thing.  It's still important to manage the health care plan and reduce cost, waste and fraud.

kanemakua
kanemakua

Here in Hawaii we've had mandated employer provided health care since the 70's.  Full time employment is 20 hours or more per week.  Maybe a change from 30 hours to 20 will prevent employers from reducing hours since it may be more problems to have your workers only working half-time to avoid health care costs.

joseph23006
joseph23006

Let me get this straight.  The bill had to be passed so congress would know what was in it.  Labor leaders, AARP, and our representatives in the House and Senate told us this was a good idea when we already saw that it was a disaster.  Now everyone wants to bale out, Congress wants to exempt itself from the rules they imposed, Unions are upset that to comply companies must reduce hours to pay for healthcare, Liberals are outraged that Conservatives want to scrap a bad idea that should never have become law!  The people (I was not one of them) elected an incompetent president who surrounded himself with incompetent advisors and brought ruin to a Great Nation by design.  

If any Democrat (or for that fact, Republican) in Congress votes to exempt that office from the progam, he or she should be voted out of office.  'Do as I say and not as I do!' can not be an option.  Pox on each of them and a plague on both houses!    

july4
july4

Something no one intended? What did Trumka think was going to happen with a 50-employee cut-off? Did he think it was going to be any different than any other response to such legislative cut-offs? I don't believe this man is that stupid. I think he knows, just like everyone else has. He just doesn't care. He's not about labor; he's about government doing everything for everybody. I don't think he's thought that quite through, though.

sherlocktoo
sherlocktoo

@july4 Add to that, his pockets are now filled with union membership money, and you see the true scenario. 

NicholasWind
NicholasWind

This would be funny if it was not going to be potentially catastrophic for you Americans.

 Richard Trumka's folks fought for this in town hall meetings because you folks thought it was great socialism ehhh..

Why did you folks not ask us here in Canada where we have one of the worst socialist health care systems on the planet for the amount of money we put into this bloody black hole called Canadian health care system.

Looks good on you union idiots in my opinion but I'm sorry for my American friends who are just starting to see the tip of the ice berg of your lovely new coming socialist health care system.

Ask yourselves why the people who wrote the health care laws now want and are getting excemption from it.

dominigan
dominigan

Yes, liberals are the masters of unintended consequences.  Hold on while I try to act surprised....

DougW.Koehler
DougW.Koehler

Obama has displayed an "impressive aptitude for imperial rule...the president has exercised his executive "discretion" to create new law, abrogate existing law, and generally contrive ways to exploit legal ambiguities to a means to his ends. He has also declared the Senate in recess when it was not, thereby bypassing the Senate's constitutional "advice and consent" role to install several partisans in top federal posts. 


Today this is glorified and glamorized as compassionate progressiveism. The Framers called it despotism." Mark Levin.

An ELECTIVE DESPOTISM was not the government we fought for, but one which should not only be founded on free principles, but in which the powers of the government should be so divided and balanced among several bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits, without being effectually checked and restrained by others." James Madison

In my opinion this president has made a mockery of the Founder's plan and has placed himself as sole ruler while under the guise of the Constitutional Presidency to which he swore allegiance. - Doug W. Koehler

ThomasMacso
ThomasMacso

"WE", the cat's out of the bag, the unions WROTE the Obamacare bill! Who knew?

SukieTawdry
SukieTawdry

"That is obviously something that no one intended."

Yes, well, that's what they always say, isn't it. It's their "get out of jail free" card as though it's just not humanly possible to anticipate the disastrous effects of bad legislation.  In the progressive playbook,  "unintended" means "you can't blame us--who in a million years could have seen this coming" when most of the time anyone with a warm pulse could have seen it coming. And whenever we point out that we, in fact, predicted this exact outcome, we're dismissed with a wave of a hand and accusals of racism, homophobia, nativism, sexism, whatever fits the circumstances.