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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Emerging deal would be a victory for big labor -- By Philip Klein, The Washington Examiner

Photo - Last month, the AFL-CIO passed a resolution calling for the elimination of the reinsurance fee. (AP File)Unions would come out as one of the winners in an emerging deal between Senate Republicans and Democrats to resolve the budget impasse that has triggered the government shutdown now entering its third week.

The proposed deal would include a one-year delay in a fee strongly opposed by unions that was to be assessed against health insurance plans starting in 2014, according to Politico.

The relevant provision of President Obama's health care law, the Transitional Reinsurance Program, was set up as a way of preventing any given insurer from getting stuck with a disproportionate number of very sick individuals with high medical expenses now that they're forced to offer insurance to all comers.

The intention was for the federal government to collect $25 billion in fees between 2014 through 2017 to fund partial reimbursement of insurers for taking on added risk. The fee was supposed to be $63 per plan participant in 2014.

But unions strongly opposed the fee as a tax on the generous health care benefits they won through negotiation with private sector employers.

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