July 7, 2015
Representatives of nearly all the VSEA Bargaining Teams were at the Best Western in Waterbury this morning to meet with each other and representatives of the State and Vermont’s congressional delegation to discuss the ramifications of the ACA’s proposed "cadillac tax." The tax is scheduled to be imposed in 2018 and is estimated to impact 60% of Vermonters who have health care plans deemed to be "too rich with benefits." VSEA members, teachers and other Vermont union members, as well as a large number of Vermonters working in the private sector unfortunately have plans that will qualify for the tax.
There wasn’t a whole lot of new information shared at the meeting, but it was helpful for VSEA Bargaining Team members to be able to voice their concerns (such as retaining members’ right to bargain health care benefits) and ask for help in trying to formulate a bargaining strategy this year, while saddled with all the uncertainty about the cadillac tax’s future. Unfortunately, again, both the State and Vermont’s congressional delegation said they could not predict with any real certainty what the tax’s future will be, or won’t be. A representative of Sen. Sanders’ office said they are waiting for a budget "reconciliation" process to culminate (allegedly at the end of this month), and the State said it is waiting for a new IRS "bulletin" to be delivered, showing the cadillac tax thresholds today when adjusted for inflation.
Rep. Peter Welch’s representative said the congressman has signed on to a House bill to repeal the cadillac tax and said the bill has bipartisan support, however its future is still unknown, as it sits in House Ways and Means. It was unclear if there is a Senate companion bill, but both offices said they would check.
VSEA Bargaining Teams and leaders will continue to meet and gather as much information as possible to aid their negotiating strategy moving forward.
Pictured here is the State’s Deputy Director of Health Care Reform, Michael Costa, addressing the group about the cadillac tax and a report on its impact that he is preparing for legislators.
UPDATED August 4, 2015: Click here to view a Cadillac Tax Primer
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