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
•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: