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White House and union leaders reach deal on the excise tax

obamabidenlooking.JPGOr so says the Associated Press. There are no details yet, but it's apparently the product of "more than 15 hours of negotiating at the White House, ending after midnight. Participants included AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka; Andy Stern, head of Service Employees International Union; Anna Burger, head of Change to Win, and the leaders of unions representing teachers, government workers, food and commercial workers and electricians. Obama's deputy chief of staff, Jim Messina, was the lead White House bargainer, although Vice President Joe Biden also was involved periodically."

Obama is supposed to head over to the House later today, and it's probably fair to assume the point of that visit is to sell members on this compromise and clear the way for a final compromise on the bill. Early reporting is that the deal exempts union plans for a couple of years and raises the threshold for the tax, but we'll see.

Photo credit: Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images.

By Ezra Klein  |  January 14, 2010; 2:33 PM ET
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Next: A percentage point here and a percentage point there and soon you're talking real money


If that's the deal--a two year delay in the tax for existing collective bargaining agreements, plus exempting vision and dental plan--it won't help the public much. If anything it's a big wet kiss to optometrists and dentists.

Dentists were the biggest spenders on health care lobbying, and it looks like they got their money's worth.

Posted by: bmull | January 14, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse


really? Can you show me something that shows: "DENTISTS WERE THE BIGGEST SPENDERS IN LOBBYING?" You really didn't just type that did you? Are you sure it wasn't "unwed mothers whose children's last names end with the letter "Q" that have been the biggest spenders?" I'm sorry, I had to. And when most every dental plan has a cap of maximum of $1500 can they get anything more out of reform? Is there somewhere hidden in those 2700 pages that require insurers to cover dental treatment as any other illness up to an unlimited lifetime maximum? Coverage for dental implants for everyone???

Back to the topic at hand:

Eventually when we water down reform even further it'll be like we did nothing at all and just wasted another year of doing nothing. This is horrible. Its the union type cadillac plans that drive the cost. I can't WAIT to see the CBO score on this mess.

Memo to unions: Deal with the excise tax, get less in worthless benefits you won't ever spend anyway and actually NEGOTIATE WAGE INCREASES to pay for the difference between a $10 and a $15 office visit copay you imbeciles. Something that will TRULY benefit your membership and not some phantom benefit. I'm sorry but these union bosses are dumb and are only hurting their membership like they've done for the last 25+ years.

Posted by: visionbrkr | January 14, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

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