Antilabor forces say it's welfare for the UAW and Democrats' union allies. Labor supporters say it falls short of what's needed as tens of thousands of union members are pushed into early retirement as employers cut back health care coverage.
They're both talking about a $10-billion provision tucked deep inside thousands of pages of health care overhaul bills that could help the UAW's retiree health-care plan and other union-backed plans.
It would see the government -- at least temporarily -- pay 80 cents on the dollar to corporate and union insurance plans for claims between $15,000 and $90,000 for retirees age 55 to 64.
Big businesses with union workers are twice as likely to offer retiree benefits as nonunion ones.
Greg Mourad of the National Right to Work Committee called it "a shameless case of political payback," saying Democrats and President Barack Obama are trying "to force the rest of us to pay billions to cover those unions' health care."
Labor advocates say even more funding may be needed. (continues here)