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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Health care law brings out criticism

Georgia’s senators want to make sure union rules are followed in the new health care laws.

U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss co-sponsored the Union Bailout Prevention Act, which would prevent the Obama administration from granting unions’ request for special Obamacare premium tax subsidies for union members’ health care plans, a press release said.

The two pointed out that a section of the reform law says that multi-employer union health plans are not qualified health plans, but the Obama administration is reportedly working on regulations to give taxpayer-subsidized premium tax credits on top of generous union plans that already receive the employer tax exclusion, ultimately forcing taxpayers to double-subsidize union members’ health plans, the release said.

“This unfair provision that allows labor unions to receive special treatment is yet another reason why I have voted nearly 60 times to repeal, replace or dismantle Obamacare,” Isakson said. “The American people should be outraged that their tax dollars are going to give President Obama’s biggest campaign supporters an Obamacare bailout. I will continue to fight every day to repeal and replace this terribly flawed law with a step-by-step approach that makes health care more accessible and affordable.”

Chambliss said he also supports a full repeal.

“This administration’s blatant favoritism toward labor organizations undermines the hard work and efforts of small business owners and non-union individuals across America,” Chambliss said. “While we must address the skyrocketing costs of health care, we must do so for all Americans, not just labor-union members. I hope President Obama will realize that taxing many to pay for the privileges of a few is unacceptable.”

Protest held about commissioners’ comments

State Democrats last week blasted Georgia’s insurance commissioner for statements that he would block the Affordable Care Act.

Ralph Hudgens, the Republican official who formerly represented Barrow in the Senate, said he was working to be an “obstructionist” of the law.

During a rally Thursday, several political officials and community advocacy groups said Hudgens should put aside partisan politics and do what is in the best interests of the residents of Georgia.

“We are saddened by the latest actions and public statements by Commissioner Hudgens pledging to obstruct the implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” said DeLane Adams, spokesperson for the Georgia AFL-CIO. “We believe that this approach will impact the largest and most vulnerable group of Georgia residents and will weaken the economy of Georgia.”

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via email at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.

For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/politics.