Washington Post | February 18, 2010

Alec MacGillis

A proposed tax on high-cost health insurance plans, an element of Democratic health-care legislation that has been strongly opposed by organized labor, would actually fall equally on nonunion plans, according to a new analysis.

The controversial tax has been widely viewed as a labor issue, but at least 80 percent of the workers whose plans would be subject to the tax in 2019 would be in nonunion jobs, according to the analysis by Ken Jacobs of the University of California at Berkeley Labor Center and William H. Dow, professor of health economics at Berkeley and a member of President George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers.

This impact is roughly in line with the overall breakdown of nonunion and union workers with employer-provided plans. And it would be true both under the version of the tax passed by the Senate and a more labor-friendly one the White House agreed to last month.

The excise tax on so-called Cadillac health plans has emerged as one of the most contentious elements of the proposal that congressional Democrats are cobbling together from bills that passed the House and Senate.
Excise tax on high-cost health plans would have nonunion impact, study shows