Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

USW pleased with health care reform progress

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The United Steelworkers (USW) has voiced its satisfaction with the progress so far of health-care reform legislation.

“Let’s be clear, no legislation is ever perfect,” USW International President Leo Gerard said in a statement released on Thursday. “But for generations we’ve been fighting for health care for all in the United States, and we are too close to reaching a historical milestone on this long journey to turn back now.”

“Our union and others in the labor movement have worked hard to fight for reform that helps working families and that will lower the cost of health care for all Americans,” Gerard added. “It appears we’ve been able to improve reform for all working families—not just those in a union—with several significant changes to the proposed excise tax on expensive health care plans. We’re pleased with the progress but that doesn’t mean we’ll stop working to make this bill better.”

Some of the proposed changes include:

•Raising the level at which plans would be taxed to $24,000 for a family and to $8,900 for singles and exempting dental and vision costs from these amounts. These thresholds would be raised for retirees 55 and older and for workers in high-risk professions.

•Raising the tax threshold for plans in certain high-cost states as well as plans with high numbers of women and older workers who require more expensive plans, allowing for more gender, age and geographic equity in health care.

•Exempting plans negotiated through collective bargaining for five years, providing critical time for employers and employees to transition.

•Allowing collectively bargained plans into the Exchange in 2017, giving workers more bargaining power.

The USW represents 850,000 workers in the U.S., Canada and Caribbean employed in the industries of metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service sector. For more information:

Posted 1/15/2010




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