Some union insurance plans could get break from fees under new health care law

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration appears ready to give some labour unions a break from costly fees under the new health care law.

But the move is drawing criticism from Republicans who say it unfairly favours a key White House ally.

The issue surfaced after the administration said last week that it plans to exempt “certain self-insured, self-administered plans” from paying a new temporary fee. Both unions and business groups have complained about the fees.

Health care experts say the exemption could apply to some union-sponsored health plans, though it’s unclear how many. Labor officials downplay any impact as minuscule and say most of their plans would not be exempt.

The Department of Health and Human Services says any proposal would consider comments from interested parties before moving forward.