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UAW’s Gettlefinger heading to D.C. to fight health care tax

Posted by David Shepardson (The Detroit News) on Mon, Jan 11, 2010 at 1:17 PM

UAW’s Gettlefinger heading to D.C. to fight health care tax

The United Auto Workers president Ron Gettelfinger told reporters he will be in meetings tomorrow and Thursday in Washington to fight the so-called "Cadillac tax" on more expensive employer-sponsored health care plans.

The Senate health care bill has a new tax on high-cost, employer-sponsored insurance policies dubbed the "Cadllac tax." But the measure wasn’t in the House version. Now the two chambers are trying to reach a compromise.

Obama supports the tax, which would be a 40 percent tax on individual health plans above $8,500 yearly and above $23,000 for families. It isn’t clear how much the tax would cost UAW members. "Our people are researching it now," Gettelfinger told reporters on the sidelines of the North American International Auto Show.

Gettelfinger says he wants the tax eliminated — or at the very least raising the minimum level taxed.

President Barack Obama was to meet with union presidents today on the issue. Gettelfinger said he was meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday in Washington on the issue. Gettelfinger skipped the meeting with Obama today. "He knows where we are at. We have open communication and open dialogue with him," Gettelfinger told reporters. "Our position’s going to be well represented there."

Gettelfinger said he wasn’t raising the issue with Pelosi today, but was waiting until tomorrow’s meeting in Washington. Gettelfinger praised much of the health care bills and efforts to reform the health system.

"This is the seventh time in the history of our country that we’ve tried to do something. Hopefully as president Obama said this will be the last time," Gettelfinger said. "We’ll get it right."

Gettelfinger declined to talk about what this felt like as his last auto show as UAW president. "I don’t think about it," he said. He said he was focused on his very busy schedule this week.

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