Reid makes concessions to labor unions on Senate healthcare bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has made several significant concessions to organized labor in the healthcare reform bill he is preparing for the Senate floor, according to a source familiar with the legislation.
 
Reid has increased the threshold of high-cost insurance plans that would be subject to taxation to pay for healthcare reform.
 

ADVERTISEMENT
Legislation passed by the Senate Finance Committee would impose a 40 percent excise tax on family plans costing more than $21,000, a provision estimated to raise $201 billion for healthcare reform. Under heavy pressure from unions, Reid has increased the threshold so that only family plans costing $23,000 or more would be taxed, said a source familiar with the bill.
 
The taxable threshold would increase each year by the rate of the Consumer Price Index plus one percent.
 
Union officials are happy that Reid has listened to their concerns, even though they would like to see the controversial tax scrapped altogether.
 

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka praised Reid on Monday for trying to lessen the impact of the insurance plan tax on working families.
 
"Sen. Reid is working hard to lessen the impact of this tax and we appreciate his hard work on this," Trumka said during a conference call with reporters.
 
The Senate bill that Reid has crafted would also include a national government-run insurance plan and allow individual states to opt out of the program.
 
Trumka said his union would not support an “opt in/opt out” compromise on the public option but he said it was a step in the right direction.
 
“It’s on its way but it’s not there yet,” he said.
 
The legislation Reid is crafting with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) would also increase the penalty on employers who fail to provide healthcare insurance for employees.

A spokeswoman for Reid did not respond immediately to a request for comment.