Since 2008, Private Health Coverage Has Risen by 6.04 Million in Right to Work States, But Hasn’t Risen a Bit in Forced-Dues States
Big Labor’s allies sometimes concede that states with Right to Work laws, which bar the firing of employees for refusal to pay dues or fees to their “exclusive” (monopolistic) union bargaining agents, enjoy accelerated job creation. Whenever forced-unionism apologists do make this concession, they insist the jobs created in Right to Work states are “the wrong kind.”
But the fact is, it is in the non-Right to Work states as a group where new jobs are more typically not productive enough to come with important benefits like health insurance.
Runaway costs associated with Medicare and Medicaid, the two largest taxpayer-funded health-insurance programs, are helping to bust the federal budget and put many state governments deep in the red.
The so-called “Affordable Care Act of 2010,” otherwise known as ObamaCare, was sold in part on the theory that it would help stop Medicare and Medicaid costs from spiraling out of control. Not surprisingly for the majority of Americans who opposed this law from the get-go, this promise hasn’t been fulfilled. And with the election of Donald Trump, an avowed ObamaCare opponent, as the 45th U.S. President, the future of the law is now in serious doubt.
Regardless of ObamaCare’s fate, the accelerated creation of good jobs that pay enough to absorb the high cost of family health-care benefits remains a key component for resolving the Medicare and Medicaid crises.
Sadly, millions and millions of such jobs were destroyed during the last national recession. But recently released U.S. Census Bureau data (see the link below) show that, despite the tepid national recovery, private insurance has bounced back vigorously in many, though far from all, states since 2008, the first full year of the recession.
From 2008 through 2015, the 22 states that had Right to Work laws on the books for the entire seven years enjoyed a net increase of 6.04 million, or 7.6%, in the number of people covered by private health insurance. Meanwhile, the 25 states that still lacked Right to Work protections as of 2015 experienced a decline of nearly 130,000 in total private health coverage.
(Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin, which adopted Right to Work laws between 2012 and 2015, are excluded from the above analysis and those that follow. Since West Virginia’s Right to Work statute was not adopted until this year, it is counted as forced-unionism here.)
All of the nine state experiencing the steepest percentage declines in private insurance access from 2008 to 2015 (Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia) were forced-unionism at the time. But eight of the nine states with the greatest increases in coverage have longstanding Right to Work laws.
The data reported here shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Where forced dues are legal, union bosses use their power to dislocate labor markets, jack up costs, and bankroll Tax & Spend, regulation-happy politicians. Fewer jobs that pay well and offer good benefits are created as a consequence.
And, when it comes to the private sector, Congress spawned the problem of compulsory unionism. Among the millions of private-sector workers who are forced to pay union dues to keep their jobs, virtually none are forced to do so by state law.
Congress instigated the moral evil of forced unionism and the economic evils it brings. It’s Congress’s responsibility to correct its mistake.