TRUMP POLICY IS LETTING GIG WORKERS DOWN

 

According to most observers, repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is quietly moving forward. As the Washington Post describes it, while public attention has been focused on the Comey testimony and the Russia investigation, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has been using “sabotage, speed, and secrecy” to advance the GOP’s Affordable Healthcare for America Act.

Gig workers should be very concerned. As the New York Times has pointed out, “in recent years, millions of middle- and working-class Americans have moved from job to job…[,]…the Affordable Care Act has enabled many of those workers to get transitional coverage that provides a bridge to the next phase of their lives — a stopgap to get health insurance if they leave a job, are laid off, start a business or retire early.”

With the GOP’s healthcare plan, however, “changing jobs or careers could become much more difficult,” the same New York Times article notes, as “millions of people could also wind up with little choice but to buy cheap plans that provided minimal coverage in states that opted out of requiring insurers to cover maternity care, mental health and addiction treatment or rehabilitation services, among other services required under the Affordable Care Act. Consumers who could not afford high premiums would wind up with enormous out-of-pocket medical expenses.”

As if this wasn’t enough to concern gig workers, last week BuzzFeed alerted readers that “the Trump administration has withdrawn Obama-era legal interpretations that said millions of American workers, from McDonalds cooks to Uber drivers, should be treated as employees of the corporations they work for.” Effectively making it easier to consider those working for platform companies as contractors rather than employees, the move “will almost certainly affect the outcome of cases now before the National Labor Relations Board, which concern whether parent companies like McDonald’s are responsible for labor conditions at franchise locations, and what rights and benefits companies like Uber owe their drivers.”

Making healthcare harder to access and more expensive for indy workers, while allowing platform companies to consider their workers as contract labor and thus to evade a whole series of regulations, the Trump administration has proven itself incapable of considering the actual needs of gig workers.

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