New UAW Contract Downgrades Members' Health Coverage
Under the new UAW-GM contract, workers' health care will be funded by large-scale investments in Japanese automakers and their suppliers. Just kidding (I think). But the union's rank and file may find changes in their health care coverage equally palatable. The Detroit Free Press reports that the UAW's leadership has agreed to cutback on the number of health care plans offered and the number of providers the plans will covers. But wait, there's less! They'll also raise copays (a bone of contention in '05) and eliminate all dental HMOs. Under the only PPO on offer, union member's family get five "free" doctor visits a year with a $25 copay for each visit. Surprisingly, the UAW leadership is downplaying the changes; they aren't mentioned during the 30-minute "information" meetings before the contract vote. One unforeseen (and so far unmentioned) ramification of ratification: it could trigger an exodus of medical talent from the Detroit area. But that's OK. GM's going to spend $15m to create a National Institute for Health Care Reform to "study solutions to national health care woes." That should make UAW members feel better… eventually.
More by Frank Williams