Health Insurance Coverage UP 7.6% in Right to Work States, DOWN in Pennsylvania

Since 2008, Private Health Insurance Coverage Has Risen by 7.6% in Right to Work States, Fallen by 1% in Forced-Unionism Pennsylvania

Over the past seven years for which data are available, the number of people covered by private health insurance has grown by an aggregate 6.04 million in Right to Work states, but fallen by roughly 130,000 in forced-unionism states collectively and by nearly 90,000 in Pennsylvania alone. Yet AFL-CIO boss Richard Bloomingdale has the nerve to suggest adoption of a Keystone State Right to Work law would result in “fewer . . . benefits” for employees and their families! Image: Pennsylvania AFL-CIO

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.â€

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.

U.S. Census Bureau data released late last year (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 the West Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri Right to Work statutes were all adopted since the beginning of 2016, they are 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.

Partly with the aim of enhancing their state’s ability to attract and retain family-supporting jobs, concerned Pennsylvanians have for years been turning up the pressure on state lawmakers to prohibit forced union dues and fees.

And last month, state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Cranberry Township) introduced in Harrisburg the Pennsylvania Open Workforce Initiative, a package of reforms that would, if enacted, protect the freedom of private- and public-sector employees to get and hold a job without being compelled to join or bankroll a union.

Not surprisingly, Big Labor chiefs who want to retain their legal privilege to corral workers into their organizations are leading the charge against Right to Work.  And as they attempt to block Metcalfe’s reform package, union bosses and their propagandists are flagrantly disregarding the facts about health insurance coverage in Right to Work and forced-unionism states that we have just reviewed.

For example, in a press statement issued early this month, Keystone State AFL-CIO President Richard Bloomingdale actually had the nerve to suggest, despite the fact that since 2008 the number of people covered by private health insurance in Pennsylvania has fallen by roughly 90,000 even as coverage rose by more than six million in Right to Work states as a group, that a state ban on forced union dues and fees would result in “fewer . . . benefits” for employees and their families!

Fortunately, the growing number of Pennsylvania representatives and senators who recognize that Right to Work laws are just and fair as well as economically beneficial won’t be deterred by such ridiculous Big Labor rhetoric from continuing to push for the abolition of forced unionism in their state.

With the assistance of the National Right to Work Committee and its Pennsylvania members, as well as the Harrisburg-based Keystone State Right to Work Committee, freedom-loving lawmakers are now seeking hearings and roll-call floor votes on Metcalfe’s Open Workforce Initiative.

HIC-4.Health Insurance Coverage Status and Type of Coverage by State–All Persons: 2008 to 2015