CWA Statement on House Health Care Bill

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Statement by President Chris Shelton, Communications Workers of America, on the proposed health care plan introduced last night by House Republicans:

We’re still learning about the health care plan proposed by House Republicans. It’s clear, however, that the legislation provides a big tax giveaway to corporations and the 1 percent, while working families, seniors and children are stuck picking up the tab.

We can all agree that the American healthcare system must be improved.

But this House proposal would strip away coverage from millions of working families who need it most, and hand millions of dollars in tax breaks and handouts to insurance companies, other corporations and the wealthy.

Lower income working families, those earning around $30,000 a year, would lose the tax credits they now receive that make it possible for them to pay for premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs.

Workers age 50 and older would take a big hit, because insurance companies would be permitted to charge them five times as much as younger workers.

The plan rewards the 1 percent who earn more than $774,000 a year with a big tax cut, around $33,000 according to the Tax Policy Center. The richest of the rich, the top one-tenth of 1 percent, would get an average tax cut of $197,000. Insurance, drug and medical-device companies also get tax breaks, and insurance company CEOs get an additional tax benefit.

These tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy are estimated at $525 billion over 10 years. This isn’t a health care plan, it’s a shameful handout to corporations paid for by working families who will pay more for less coverage, and by those Americans who will be left with no health care coverage at all.


Governor Christie's argument to the courts is the State is not obligated to make full pension payments under chapter 78, and that chapter 78's specific language does not create a contractual right to these payments. 

But he says otherwise in a town hall meeting from June 2011 when the law was being finalized. 

Here are his words:

"When we passed the first phase of pension and benefit reform, one of the things we all agreed to was we would get back up to speed on the pension payment, under law, one seventh at a time starting this year. So this year's payment will be 1/7th of the actuarial amount, and next year's will be 2/7ths and so one until we get to the point where we are making the full payment. 

That schedule is codified into legislation that you have right now and makes it a contractual right...

...I will take my share of responsibility for inheriting this and not being able to fix it in the first year I was there to get to a full payment. You're absolutely right. But what I also did was force bipartisan compromise last March to put a realistic schedule together of getting to full payment and now agreeing in this legislation to making that a contractual right of the people who are depending upon that pension."