Within President Obama’s health care reform plan is a small provision that would grant unions $10 billion in funds to help cover insurance claims for retirees aged 55-64. The provision has become especially controversial in Detroit where the United Autoworkers Union (UAW) is finding itself hard-pressed to insure the burgeoning number of auto employees forced into early retirement, before they are eligible for Medicare. Antilabor advocates have called it ‘welfare for the UAW’ and ‘a payback’ to Democratic supporters, while union activists say $10 billion might not even be enough. The UAW’s Voluntary Employee Benefit Association is estimated to have only about 30% of the funds needed to cover the influx of early retirees over the next number of years, and without national health care reform, could be defunct in just a few short years.
See “$10B aimed at union retirees,” by Justin Hyde & Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, Aug 24 2009 (JKW)
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