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Why Are My Supermarket Workers Threatening to Strike? A Surprising Answer!

Of course they are correct. How could a healthy 18- to 25-year-old part-timer (and many of them working want these part-time jobs as they go to college or train for a better and more fulfilling full-time job elsewhere) want a policy that will cost more, have higher deductibles, and make them pay for provisions in which they are not interested if given a choice to purchase or obtain a regular policy? In this case, one suspects that the union healthcare program in which they were previously enrolled was quite comprehensive, had a low deductible, and covered much, much more than they would ever get in a comparable Obamacare exchange.

In his devastating column today about the failure of Obamacare, Charles Krauthammer points out that “Obamacare renders illegal (with exceedingly narrow ‘grandfathered,' exceptions) the continuation of any insurance plan deemed by Washington regulators not to meet their arbitrary standards for adequacy. Example: No maternity care? You are terminated.” He is writing about those large segments of our population who have received cancellation letters from insurance companies about their individually purchased insurance policies. But the point is the same -- if those who lose employee health insurance they once had go into an exchange, they will be forced to purchase policies with provisions they do not need or want.  He adds: “most of the 19 million people with individual insurance will have to find new and likely more expensive coverage. And that doesn’t even include the additional millions who are sure to lose their employer-provided coverage.”

These Giant and Safeway workers are among that group. And they don’t like what they are faced with.

These are only two supermarket firms in the D.C. area. But their protest and threat of a strike bode ill for the Obama administration. The AFL-CIO and its affiliates were key administration allies and supporters of Obamacare from the get-go. Now that they see what it means for their members, they don’t like it one bit. Did it not occur to the union leadership that the program might just not be good and that it might deprive its members of policies they were used to and liked?

They, like all of us, have learned that there is no free lunch. The disaster that is Obamacare may now lead to a rupture in the Democratic-trade union alliance. Call it as Krauthammer does, “subterfuge,” “mendacity” or “liberal paternalism” -- or call it, as I do, the failure of liberalism and liberal ideology. One way or the other, the model of the liberal welfare state’s ever expanding grasp is collapsing as we watch. Good riddance!