In the battle for strong health care reform legislation, it looks like progressives may have finally won one battle – even if it’s a small one.
And it’s about time. After all, liberals have already had to accept no single-payer legislation, no expansion of Medicare, new restrictive language on abortion, and no public plan option.
But, with the leadership of labor unions, liberals have won one victory: over taxation of workers health benefits.
The Senate bill contains a tax of all so-called “Cadillac” plans, including those negotiated for union workers in lieu of higher wages.
The compromise reached Thursday at the White House would exempt those plans from taxes: all insurance plans won for workers through the collective bargaining process. At least until 2017, when workers facing higher taxes would be free to buy cheaper health insurance through one of the public exchanges.
This is a good deal, and a big deal.
It shows labor unions still have clout. It shows President Obama is willing to listen to the concerns of labor leaders. And it shows that Nancy Pelosi and members of the House are not just going to roll over and accept whatever moderates in the Senate want.
A good compromise on taxing benefits. Now let’s see if they can come up with a good compromise on a public plan option.
That’s my parting shot for today.