Oh, good: Broke cities looking to unload expensive retirees on ObamaCare, i.e. taxpayers

posted at 6:31 pm on July 7, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

The Obama administration’s short-term panicked desperation to avoid ObamaCare-related consequences in the 2014 midterms is only matched by their relatively longer-term panicked desperation to convince young and healthy Americans to get with the program en masse. They’re going to need a heck of a lot of people with relatively inexpensive health-insurance needs to participate in and subsequently subsidize the inherently riskier and more expensive insurance pools the program creates by deliberate design — a redistributive fact of which the law’s supporters and administrators are all too aware.

But, heck, as long as ObamaCare is offering what we’re promised will be this miraculously subsidized (affordable?) health care system, why shouldn’t municipalities with insolvent pension and benefit programs take this wondrous opportunity to siphon off some of their incurred costs and just ease them onto the national system? Problem, solved — amirite? Via Bloomberg:

Detroit is facing bankruptcy, and Chicago wants to cut retiree benefit costs. Both are turning to President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul in what could become a road map for cash-strapped cities. …

“That will become an option that I think a lot of employers and a lot of cities would look at,” said Ario, now a managing director of Manatt Health Solutions, a Washington consulting firm that advises insurers. …

In Detroit, reducing benefits for 30,000 employees and retirees is part of Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s plan to avoid the largest U.S. municipal bankruptcy by erasing a $386 million deficit and attacking a long-term debt of at least $17 billion.

The city had 19,389 retirees eligible for health, life-insurance and death benefits as of June 30, 2011, according to Orr’s plan. The insurance benefits cost the city $177.4 million in fiscal 2012. Retirees contributed an additional $23.5 million.

Orr wants to give current and former workers health-reimbursement accounts. The city would pay from $100 to $250 a month to help with medical costs or premiums under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to a proposal to city unions.

That would cost the city as little as $27.5 million annually, according to Orr’s plan.

If more indebted cities (states?!) cotton on to the potential for savings by ending their plans with currently insured older Americans and transferring them to the exchanges, then who knows what this will look like, but I would suggest that ObamaCare and the prices for the younger subsidizers are going to get still more expensive than anyone predicted. …Ah, well. After all, who could’ve seen this coming, really?


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Suckers.

CW on July 7, 2013 at 6:39 PM

Liberals called into the Liberal HotLine and explained to Mark Levin what they thought Independence Day meant, to them..

All of them loved America but fell short of saying that they could care for themselves above a big government caring for them…

Electrongod on July 7, 2013 at 6:39 PM

NEWS ITEM: The OBOZO totalitarian police state will allow people “…To Self-Report Their Income With No Verification…” for OBOZOCARE.
…Of course, in addition to self-reporting income with no verification, the OBOZO regime will ALSO ALLOW SELF-REPORTING OF CITIZENSHIP WITH NO VERIFICATION. The d-cRAT socialist extremist “plan” has ALWAYS BEEN to provide OBOZOCARE FREE STUFF to ILLEGALS.

TeaPartyNation on July 7, 2013 at 6:46 PM

Another great ‘Plan B’.
Way to go.

TimBuk3 on July 7, 2013 at 6:46 PM

How will veterans feel when the feds roll the VA system into ObamaCare?

ShainS on July 7, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Goodie. More gasoline for the “Let it Burn” crowd.

RoadRunner on July 7, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Are these retirees who aren’t old enough for Medicare? Why doesn’t The Won just buy them bridge insurance from his buddies at AARP, I bet they would love that.

Cindy Munford on July 7, 2013 at 6:52 PM

Broke cities are Democratic cities.

Eat poop and die!

madmonkphotog on July 7, 2013 at 6:55 PM

Well Nancy-poo said they had to pass the law so that everyone could see what was in it.

Left unsaid was “BUT DON’T LOOK TO CLOSELY!”

GarandFan on July 7, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Sure, get all these people on Obamacare, thus making it impossible to repeal the monstrosity.

rbj on July 7, 2013 at 7:03 PM

But all the cool kids voted for Obaaaaama

xrayiiis on July 7, 2013 at 7:04 PM

When you’re working til you’re 80 your government workers will still be retiring around age 40 just laughing at you .

CW on July 7, 2013 at 7:09 PM

Sure, get all these people on Obamacare, thus making it impossible to repeal the monstrosity.

rbj on July 7, 2013 at 7:03 PM

THIS!!! x10.

No matter what happens, get as many people joining up with the looter class and yer stuck with it forever.

BigWyo on July 7, 2013 at 7:12 PM

Sure, get all these people on Obamacare, thus making it impossible to repeal the monstrosity.

rbj on July 7, 2013 at 7:03 PM

…exactly.

KOOLAID2 on July 7, 2013 at 7:13 PM

Welcome to the “Parasitic States of Amerika”

rplat on July 7, 2013 at 7:14 PM

I can’t see the greedy and powerful unions going along with this.

slickwillie2001 on July 7, 2013 at 7:17 PM

As bad as things seem, think of how much worse they’d be if we elected a guy who put a dog on the roof of his car, and who spoke out of turn on Benghazi.

ardenenoch on July 7, 2013 at 7:21 PM

As bad as things seem, think of how much worse they’d be if we elected a guy who put a dog on the roof of his car, and who spoke out of turn on Benghazi.

ardenenoch on July 7, 2013 at 7:21 PM

Yep, sure glad we dodged that bullet. /s

AZfederalist on July 7, 2013 at 7:23 PM

Sigh. This is the plan.

faraway on July 7, 2013 at 7:26 PM

As bad as things seem, think of how much worse they’d be if we elected a guy who put a dog on the roof of his car, and who spoke out of turn on Benghazi.

ardenenoch on July 7, 2013 at 7:21 PM

And the Nobel Peace Prize would have had a chance to be givin’ to someone who actually earned it…
Maybe…

Electrongod on July 7, 2013 at 7:27 PM

Thanks John Roberts!

fogw on July 7, 2013 at 7:29 PM

And I thought Ponzi schemes were illegal. Go figure.

EA_MAN on July 7, 2013 at 7:30 PM

fogw on July 7, 2013 at 7:29 PM

What he said.

annoyinglittletwerp on July 7, 2013 at 7:32 PM

Unions will get an exemption. They have something like a 45% tax on their plans coming down in 2015. You really think the Democrats are going to screw over the biggest and best organized contingent of voters they have? No. The meme will be that the rich just aren’t paying enough and the poor working class union members just cannot be expected to pay this.

englishqueen01 on July 7, 2013 at 7:32 PM

…Of course, in addition to self-reporting income with no verification, the OBOZO regime will ALSO ALLOW SELF-REPORTING OF CITIZENSHIP WITH NO VERIFICATION. The d-cRAT socialist extremist “plan” has ALWAYS BEEN to provide OBOZOCARE FREE STUFF to ILLEGALS.

TeaPartyNation on July 7, 2013 at 6:46 PM

True, anyone who believes the government is going to perform background checks on 11 – 20 million illegals is a fool.

bw222 on July 7, 2013 at 7:33 PM

…wonder how John Roberts sleeps?

KOOLAID2 on July 7, 2013 at 7:35 PM

Weird.

It almost looks like the whole thing will collapse under its own weight.

talkingpoints on July 7, 2013 at 7:36 PM

…wonder how John Roberts sleeps?

KOOLAID2 on July 7, 2013 at 7:35 PM

With the “Book of the U.S. Constitution” in his hands…
He is still on page 1.

Electrongod on July 7, 2013 at 7:39 PM

How will veterans feel when the feds roll the VA system into ObamaCare?

ShainS on July 7, 2013 at 6:49 PM

With all the members of the military that are disabled because of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I doubt they will be judged favorably by “death panels.”

bw222 on July 7, 2013 at 7:39 PM

Every penny ever touched by a government leach is taxpayer money. The democrats from failed locations have found a way to make republican locations pay for it now.

Flange on July 7, 2013 at 7:42 PM

This plan is rapidly becoming a de-facto single payer system by way of executive action, inaction and condoned fraud.

tommyboy on July 7, 2013 at 7:49 PM

…wonder how John Roberts sleeps?

KOOLAID2 on July 7, 2013 at 7:35 PM

With the “Book of the U.S. Constitution” in his hands…
He is still on page 1.

Electrongod on July 7, 2013 at 7:39 PM

With taxation anything is possible.

CW on July 7, 2013 at 7:56 PM

…VA is next…then all the public sector unions

KOOLAID2 on July 7, 2013 at 7:57 PM

This plan is rapidly becoming a de-facto single payer system by way of executive action, inaction and condoned fraud.

tommyboy on July 7, 2013 at 7:49 PM

yes, that is what makes me really angry here. the supporters of the bill went on and on saying “OMG NO!!! IT’S TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY NOT SINGLE-PAYER!!! THAT’S NOT WHAT THIS IS!!!!!!111″ but they were being dishonest. the bill itself isn’t single-payer but it’s designed to lead to single-payer. the way they presented this to the american public was a slimy and sneaky thing to do. (and still is)

Sachiko on July 7, 2013 at 8:34 PM

…wonder how John Roberts sleeps?

KOOLAID2 on July 7, 2013 at 7:35 PM

Far better than if his wife had seen the hooker video the NSA fikmed.

bw222 on July 7, 2013 at 8:39 PM

O/T

Governor McDonnell of Virginia to resign over ethics violations?

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/07/07/Spokesman-Denies-Reports-of-VA-Gov-s-Resignation

bw222 on July 7, 2013 at 8:42 PM

As I have said all along, this is the start of single payer/single point of service for all of America’s Health care. It was a no brainer that everyone was going to jump on the band wagon. Come on, we all knew this was going to happen.

Johnnyreb on July 7, 2013 at 8:52 PM

Good. Push all those public union, blue state aholes right over the cliff; they asked for it and now they get it.

Bishop on July 7, 2013 at 8:56 PM

BOHICA….and to you morons that voted for this…..BOHICA to the 100th power

crosshugger on July 7, 2013 at 8:58 PM

…wonder how John Roberts sleeps?

KOOLAID2 on July 7, 2013 at 7:35 PM

In RED pajamas would be my guess…

…. with cute little yellow hammers and sickles embroidered all over them.

viking01 on July 7, 2013 at 9:02 PM

USSA

Philly on July 7, 2013 at 9:13 PM

This has been the plan all along. Transfer the massive unfunded liabilities of the cities Democrats have been milking and mismanaging for decades on to the rest of the taxpayers. They had to create the national alternative or the cities would all implode financially. Absolutely corrupt.

novaculus on July 7, 2013 at 9:14 PM

You shouldn’t underestimate the power of American innovation to usher in a new era of healthcare efficiency and price transparency.
 
bayam on June 4, 2013 at 4:47 PM

 
(Out of context! Out of context!)

rogerb on July 7, 2013 at 9:29 PM

Oh, good: Broke cities looking to unload expensive retirees on ObamaCare, i.e. taxpayers

I’ve long wondered why they would need to keep Medicaid, Medicare, Schip, etc. around if they were doing the Obamacare thing, since I’m sure we all know this is overall a movement to single payer.

But I think they may want to keep these other healthcare bureaucracies around, well, just because they are bureaucracies, and good places to dump cronies into high positions and to in effect launder vast sums of money.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 7, 2013 at 10:14 PM

No, motherf*ckers – NO.

Ok, how do we *all* ‘go Galt’ here; I don’t want to pay another f*cking dime in taxes to these bastards.

Midas on July 7, 2013 at 10:42 PM

Maybe the IRS will let us report our taxes on the same ‘honor system’ they’re planning to use for Obamacare and stuff. You know, just take my word for it without checking my return against any other documents. If they were to audit someone and take them to court, would ‘equal protection’ be a defense? “I’m just using government-approved-and-recommended reporting standards that are being applied to X million other folks, legal citizens and illegal immigrants alike!”

Midas on July 7, 2013 at 10:45 PM

BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMMM

Chuck Schick on July 7, 2013 at 11:04 PM

ardenenoch on July 7, 2013 at 7:21 PM

“As bad as things seem, think of how much worse they’d be if we elected a guy who put a dog on the roof of his car, and who spoke out of turn on Benghazi.

I wonder why the media never tried to figure out what “Dog-Hot Pot” was? Have you ever seen any of those pictures of dogs chained next to the entrances of a hut?
Yep!
Those aren’t pets, they are dinner!
I hear they like to eat dog during the winter months.

shorebird on July 8, 2013 at 12:21 AM

This was SOOOOOO obvious. However there is a problem. These parasites can only obtain a delux plan until aged 65. Then they must abide by the Medicare rules. Remember what the Democrats gutted to silly-fund Obamacare? Yup. That was Medicare Advantage. So the exchange members will not pay for excess plans. $500B taken out of the system and no way to pay. So the parasites will latch on to 65 and then enjoy the hell they wanted.
BTW, Detroit is seriously positioning itself to have the Feds pay the Parasite Pensions.

pat on July 8, 2013 at 12:32 AM

Thanks John Roberts!

fogw on July 7, 2013 at 7:29 PM

More than anybody else I want to tar and feather that man. Liberals are going to behave like Liberals, but this man was supposed to know better. Seriously, he betrayed everybody in this country and (supposedly) everything he believed in. It really makes me wonder who got to him and what leverage they used.

Theophile on July 8, 2013 at 2:23 AM

If healthcare wasn’t broke and in shambles before, it is now.

(How can we blame Bush for the failure to implement Obamacare?)

smoothsailing on July 8, 2013 at 6:33 AM

Passing the failures of socialism from one branch or entity of government to another until the final one falls is but the liberal’s political version of the old child’s game of “musical chairs.”
Unfortunately America’s voters lack even the inexperienced brains of the small children who knew that most of them will lose with such a structure, though like little children each person who votes for the left (and the RINO GOP right)is convinced that they’ll be the last one standing.

Don L on July 8, 2013 at 7:27 AM

After all, who could’ve seen this coming, really?

Me. I sniffed this out six months ago and began pestering my city councilman about it. Got the run around so I began asking the at-large members and city controller. More run around. I asked in public meetings at the microphone. No responses from city officials in those settings. It was confirmed when a fluffer for the Chronicle wrote an article a couple of months quoting our lesbian mermaid as having reduced the city’s debt to retirees from $5.8 billion to $2.8 billion.

The Houston Comical reporter is named Chris Moran and he would not respond to requests for clarification.

DanMan on July 8, 2013 at 7:42 AM

Keep in mind that companies like GM were very early supporters of anything like ObamaCare, as they sought to offload their retirees to anything that was legal.

J_Crater on July 8, 2013 at 8:36 AM

To some extent, this is the very point of Obamacare. Saving local and state governments from their own stupid costs.

A little noticed (by most) fact is that by far the strongest constituent of the DNC is public sector unions. Local and State governments have for years been giving away the store to public sector employees (and the GOP is not free from sin here) not just in the form of much higher salaries (teachers, firefighters and police I am looking at you) than are earned or than the market would ever bear, but, more importantly, in terms of gold-plated health insurance benefits that continue during the employees retirement.

And, because public sector employees retire much earlier than anyone else (20-30 years service at 50 years old), local and state gov’ts are carrying a huge burden in health care costs. Not only are they paying outrageous pensions, but outrageous health insurance benefits to people who should still be working.

Something had to be done or more and more cities, and eventually states, would be declaring bankruptcy. This – more than all the talk about “pre-existing conditions” or the alleged people with “no” health care – drove liberals to want to change who is paying for health insurance.

They can not admit the failure in their policies found in the bankrupting of cities and states, so instead needed to frame it as something else. And they can not be seen to be taking away the public employees’ benefits or create a conflict with the unions. So, they needed to transfer the costs of their folly onto someone else – which is what Obamacare is designed to do.

If you are at all involved in local gov’t issues, you will know that in most cases, the local gov’t's (say a small city) budget has an enormous part dedicated to retiree health care costs. The city I am in (decades controlled by dems, nat) would not only not have its annual budget deficit crisis but would actually have a significant budget surplus if it did not have the massive retiree health care costs.

So, you have the DNC which cannot confront public employees unions and cannot ever be seen to be reducing public employee benefits, but needed to save DNC controlled cities and states from an avalanche of bankruptcies that will happen w/in the next 5-10 years absent a reduction in, among other things, retiree health care costs. That, more than anything else, is the driving force behind the monstrosity that is Obamacare. To shift the cost of problems created mostly – but not entirely – by dems in dem controlled cities and states onto national taxpayers.

Republicans are often just as bad at protecting the public fisc when it comes to union contracts. After all, almost nobody really pays attention to what a local gov’t or state agrees to give DPW workers in terms of health benefits. but those add up over time. And each new negotiation the union members ask for something more. So, you end up with unskilled, uneducated trash collectors earning, with overtime, over $50k a year with health benefits and pensions better than you or I receive. it’s easier to just give the union what it wants b/c the voter doesn’t pay attention to that issue.

I respect police and firefighters, but there is no reason why a police officer needs to make $65k a year. There is no shortage of qualified individuals applying that would require such a high salary. The job is not so complicated as to require it. Yes, police officers risk their lives. As do soldiers. As do rodeo clowns. The reality is that more than 75% of a police officer’s time is spent in his patrol car. Let’s not pretend it is a job requiring significant pay. Same with firefighters. and don’t get me started on teachers.

Somewhere along the line we turned these professions into noble martyrdom deserving of never being questioned. That is silly. They are jobs that the vast majority of people could do just fine. They are not jobs that require better than average intelligence or better than average physical ability.

Rant off/

Monkeytoe on July 8, 2013 at 9:19 AM

Cook County in Illinois started their own version of Obamacare in January called CountyCare! It is a Medicaid program available under Obamacare, enacted after the State of Illinois requested a waiver from the program for the county. This plan is supposed to offer 100% across the board coverage for medical and pharmaceutical needs, with no co-pay. Members have to be between the ages of 19 and 64 years of age, have no related children under the age of 19, not be on any other medical program, be a U.S. citizen or a legal immigrant of five years or more, and not making an income higher than $15000 a year for individuals, or $20000 for married couples.

Sounds nice, until you consider this. The State of Illinois and Cook County, both financially strapped to the nth degree, are operating this program. That means it is the taxpayers of Illinois, the ones who are already screaming UNCLE! with how they are already being squeezed for their tax dollars by the state, who are the ones who are paying for this program!

And as it is known about any barrel ever made, there is still a bottom to it!

Stay tuned for when this offshoot of Obamacare goes into “crash and burn” mode!

pilamaye on July 8, 2013 at 9:36 AM

Rant off/

Monkeytoe on July 8, 2013 at 9:19 AM

Not a rant at all, yours is a measured explanation of what I was witnessing and trying to get confirmation of. If a rube like me could sniff it out just by reading the budget, asking questions and getting no answers it really shows how very little attention is paid by the public.

Property taxes would have to go up by half to pay for the debt they expect to write off by this. Think about what that does to values in the jurisdiction that are encumbered.

Perhaps converting all public employees to Obamacare for a few years could be the proving grounds for this experiment. We know their unions brought it on.

DanMan on July 8, 2013 at 9:44 AM

Property taxes would have to go up by half to pay for the debt they expect to write off by this. Think about what that does to values in the jurisdiction that are encumbered.

Perhaps converting all public employees to Obamacare for a few years could be the proving grounds for this experiment. We know their unions brought it on.

DanMan on July 8, 2013 at 9:44 AM

One of the new efforts by liberals is to try and converge cities with suburbs – thus shifting the cities’ costs onto the suburban taxpayers. CA is way ahead of the curve on this, passing laws incentivizing suburban towns to agree to it (I’ll have to look up the specific law – its been awhile since I read about it).

In my area, City politicians have been raising this idea for years. Always under the rubric of “cost savings” by reducing duplication of effort, etc. But in reality, it is an effort to get at the suburban wallets to pay for the disastrous policies of the liberals in the City.

Obamacare is just another version of this. The pre-existing condition issues could have been dealt with without Obamacare – and it was a very small percentage of the population. The people they claimed had “no” care had care – either through state programs, medicaid, charity or emergency room visits, so there was no real emergency there and the issue could have been worked on piecemeal.

the only potential cost reducing part of Obamacare was the hope that it would force tons of uninsured healthy young people to purchase health insurance thus pouring money into the system. But that was always a delusional pipe dream and was never going to make up for the millions of other people (legal and illegal immigrants, poor people, etc.) suddenly given better insurance coverage.

The one thing I have never understood is why any unions – public or private – supported Obamacare. I understand that unions are run by hard-left liberals and that they wanted to support Obama. But they had to know that Obamacare would result in their members losing benefits. There was simply never any way that union top-of-the-line coverage plans were going to survive Obamacare. And, they had to know the pressure would be on for employers to simply drop coverage altogether, again putting union members in a worse position.

It seems to me that union members can make claims against their union leadership for failure to represent them properly. To me (even adjusting for my dislike of unions) union leadership support of Obamacare was always in direct conflict of the union members’ interests. I would like to hear a union make an argument as to why supporting obamacare advanced any union members’ interest as opposed to harming the members’ interests.

the only possible argument that Unions can make – particularly the public sector unions – is that they know that the high cost of retiree and other health care is bankrupting the Cities (and some industries) and they therefore were trying to help come up with a way to transfer the costs to the American taxpayer – even though they never admitted this or told their members this.

Monkeytoe on July 8, 2013 at 10:02 AM

I think you may have answered your question Monkeytoe. The unions are serving the democrat party first and using their members dues to do so. I was in the Teamsters once and saw the Local 988 administrators climb into bed with UPS management.

As it is now, union members know they have whole heartedly supported the dems, the dems brought them Obamacare (probably as a solution to the bankruptcies you mention) and they can’t bring themselves to admit they got taken. Their bosses negotiated temporary waivers so they thought they had an advantage over everybody else as a reward for their loyalties.

Any correlation to the plight of blacks, the 50 year war on poverty, the lack of measurable improvements and slavish devotion to the democrat party is merely coincidental…

DanMan on July 8, 2013 at 10:40 AM

What difference does it make? — Hillary Clinton

If only I could figure out how to work her manic hand-waving into the quote…

There Goes the Neighborhood on July 8, 2013 at 11:30 AM

I am not sure the unions will let cities get away with this, they seem to have so much power. And these are retirees? and the regular workforce? They are apples and oranges in terms of what is available to them, buying your own insurance in a health care exchange is not the same as depending on medicare when you had a private plan before.

This math is not easy to do, if a company no longer provides insurance they are going to pay a penalty and until penalties engorge, they will pocket the change and be taxed more on what they have left than before, because health insurance is a cost of doing business before profits are declared for the year. But this is a town, so they are not paying taxes, but the town has taxpayers who might get a little lift from this…unless the hacks have eyed this savings for their own pet projects.

I do not believe their will be enough cash in the treasury for the subsidies, now that employer penalties are put off, the tax subsidy has always been a bi partisan type musing, of how to make buying insurance as fair to individuals as it seems to be if it is bought by a company, but HHS, the Secretary, has had no limits to her dreaming and she could have devised affordable plans or health savings accounts but she is used to shopping at SAKS like Michelle and Hilary and Chelsea, not Walmart and can’t think in real terms.

Fleuries on July 8, 2013 at 12:17 PM

So, this was the plan all along. The American tax payer will now pay for the entitlement promises made to the Unions by local and state politicians? Don’t make me laugh Progs, I have chapped lips. This is not gonna happen so go ahead and try it and what you will find is all h*ll breaking loose. I’m not cleaning up this mess and the first person that comes my way demanding my money is going to get two new nostrils. Yep, I said it now get your arses not to the back of the bus but off the bus I pay for and yes, I said that too. Don’t even think that we tax payers, who are responsible for our family and our own increase in healthcare costs to the tune of 180% the last 6 quarters is all I’m doing for one more progressive mouth, no? Try me……Proggies.

Tangerinesong on July 8, 2013 at 2:34 PM