In places like Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Chicago, and New York, we’ve even built our own non-profit health centers, providing top-notch, cost-effective care for our members and their families. Nearly 1 million Americans receive care through our not-for-profit plans, which have been cited in The New York Times and elsewhere as a model for how ordinary working people can get great health care.
We are proud of what we’ve built, but every year our standard gets harder to maintain as the price of care and life-saving prescription drugs goes up. Regional for-profit health system monopolies, private equity driven consolidation in the health care industry, and unchecked price hikes for pharmaceuticals are major drivers of high prices.
The result? Americans are charged the highest health care prices in the world, but our outcomes are poorer.
That’s why UNITE HERE has taken on drug company price gouging practices and won. In Nevada in 2017 we were instrumental in passing first-in-the-nation legislation requiring pricing and PBM transparency for essential diabetes medications and in 2019 asthma drugs were added. In California that same year, the state legislature passed SB 17 calling for prescription drug pricing transparency, the most robust state level reforms on the pharmaceutical industry to date. This law, which was backed by UNITE HERE International Union, requires that drug companies provide the public with advanced notice of significant price increases on certain prescription drug and also stipulates that health plans must report drug spending information to state regulators. In 2019 in Nevada, our Union was key to passing legislation ending the practice of out-of-network medical providers sending surprise bills to patients for emergency services.
- Culinary Union thanks Governor Brian Sandoval for signing historic pharmaceutical transparency bill into Law and Senator Yvanna Cancela for pioneering the landmark legislation, Press Release, 7/15/17
- Big Pharma Can Be Beaten: This Union Proved It, TruthOut, 8/20/17
- Amid rising drug costs nationally, one state senator takes on diabetes in Nevada, Nevada Independent, 4/30/17
- Stop Price Gouging, Culinary Union Video
- California Bill Regulating Pharmaceutical Drug Price Gouging Signed Into Law in Major Win for Consumers, Labor, UNITE HERE Press Release, 10/9/17
- Culinary Union Lobby Day in Carson City – April 18th, Culinary Union Media Advisory, 4/18/19
- Sisolak signs asthma drug pricing transparency bill into law, building on 2017 diabetes proposal, Nevada Independent, 5/30/19
- In Focus: How Unions Act as a Force for Change in Health Care Delivery and Payment, The Commonwealth Fund, 3/21/19
- A New Brooklyn Clinic for Hotel Workers Who Enjoy No-Cost Care, The New York Times, 7/19/17
- Kudos to New York’s hotel industry and its housekeepers for new contract, New York Daily News, 2/10/12
- The Hot Spotters: Can we lower medical costs by giving the neediest patients better care? The New Yorker, 1/16/11
- Atlantic City casino union opens its own health center, NJBIZ, 5/28/14
- Culinary Health Center open today in east valley, Las Vegas Sun, 6/15/17
- Culinary Heath Fund Unveils Cutting-Edge, Multi-Faceted Culinary health Center, June 15, Press Release, 6/15/17
- AMITA Health, UNITE HERE HEALTH Open Free Clinic Serving Chicago’s Hospitality Workers, News Release, 7/17/19
Do Not Tax Our Healthcare!
The GOP simply has no plan for providing healthcare for Americans. They want to take away the positive gains of the ACA, but have absolutely no plan to replace it. That is the GOP idea of “freedom” – the freedom to get sick, go broke, and perish. At the same time, members of both parties have favored a 40% excise tax on health benefits. More than 181 million Americans – including retirees, low- and moderate-income families, public-sector employees, small business owners and the self-employed – currently depend on employer-provided health coverage.
- The 40% Health Benefits Tax will force businesses to provide health plans with fewer benefits and higher deductibles. Americans already feel their health care is too expensive and out-of-pocket costs continue to rise. With the looming tax, workers will pay even more out of pocket for health services.
- The 40% Health Benefits Tax will affect ALL Americans with employer-sponsored health coverage. Because the tax is indexed to the chained consumer price index, which is lower than health care inflation, every year an increasing number of health plans will be subject to the tax.
- The 40% Health Benefits Tax penalizes employers for many factors that are out of their control. The tax unfairly targets employers that have a higher number of workers with chronic or serious diseases or those with larger families. Employers with locations in high-cost areas or in specific industries, such as manufacturing or law enforcement, are also disproportionately affected by the 40% tax.
- The 40% Health Benefits Tax applies not only to what employers pay for their employees’ health coverage, but also to the contributions by employees themselves. The tax applies to a number of benefits that help control costs including on-site medical clinics, certain wellness and employee assistance plans, health savings account contributions, health reimbursement arrangements, flexible spending accounts, and other pre-tax health benefits. This will cause many plans to hit the tax threshold earlier than expected.