We don’t want a tax on people’s healthcare benefits. Period. End of story. But it’s going to happen if we don’t speak up. Immediately! There’ still time to get the word out to our Congressional members that we’re not in favor of the tax on healthcare benefits.
One of the National Nurses United’s first strong statements is against the tax. “It is unconscionable that workers and families with employer-sponsored health plans, who receive virtually no benefits from the proposed legislation, including our nurses and their loved ones, would have their health coverage taxed and seriously eroded,” wrote Deborah Burger, co-president of the National Nurses United, this week.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka wasn’t happy with the idea, either. In a speech to the National Press Club today, Trumka was reported by The Washington Post as stating that “discontent with the final bill, when combined with a general perception that Obama and Congress have been insufficiently populist in responding to the recession and financial crisis, could demoralize his members.” He referred to 1994 (passage of NAFTA) when “there was no way to persuade enough working Americans to go to the polls when they couldn’t tell the difference between the two parties.”
It’s hard not to get confused as loyalties are moving around and deals are being made. During the Obama campaign, a proposal Senator John McCain laid out that involved lifting the tax exemption on healthcare benefits drew heavy fire. But the Senate provision isn’t that much different, taxing plans of $8,500 for individuals and $23,000 for families.
Where it leaves Michigan nurses is this — if you don’t like the possibility of getting your healthcare benefits taxed, you had better tell your Congressional members and soon. They’re in those rooms making decisions right this very minute. Here’s how to call them:
Many of you have fought long and hard to get the healthcare benefits you enjoy as part of your contract. While we are for health care reform, this isn’t the way to go about it. Pick up the phone, make the call. Your help is needed!