Bloomberg News explains how financially troubled cities are looking to dump retirees into those train-wreck ObamaCare public exchanges:
With U.S. cities facing rising benefit costs and billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities, more municipalities will consider moving retirees off city rolls and into the exchanges, even if they continue to subsidize the coverage, said Neil Bomberg, a program director at the National League of Cities inWashington.
“Cities and towns will be looking at ways to reduce those costs, and the exchanges may provide a very viable mechanism,” Bomberg said in an interview.
Coverage for about 7 million people expected to enroll in health exchanges next year will cost U.S. taxpayers about $26 billion, the Congressional Budget Office says. That figure nearly doubles a year later, and exchange coverage is expected to total $1.1 trillion through 2023. A spokeswoman for the agency, Deborah Kilroe, said in an e-mail that it has no estimate of how many people in exchanges will be retirees.
These new marketplaces make a great “safety net” (read: dumping ground) for employers because, as one consultant explained to Bloomberg News, they “can’t exclude people for pre-existing conditions and have tax subsidies.” That sounds like a wonderful system for inter-generational wealth redistribution. Healthy younger people will get socked with staggering insurance premiums to subsidize high-risk older people. The Administration is currently in panic mode because it can’t fool enough young suckers into signing up (their current brainstorm, after the failure to co-opt Big Sports as ObamaCare propagandists: recruit mothers to badger their children into enlisting.) That means a larger chunk of the difference will have to be siphoned out of general tax revenue, which should get our national debt past the $20 trillion mark well ahead of schedule.
Big Labor is reportedly unhappy about the retiree-dumping strategy because “insurance will cost more and provide worse coverage.” Welcome aboard the ObamaCare resistance movement, unions! Too bad you didn’t pipe up back in 2009, when ObamaCare’s astute critics were making precisely this point. But no, you supported the President for political reasons, so now your members get to suffer like the rest of us.
Retirees will have plenty of company in the public exchanges, because President Obama just modified the Constitution to give himself a new power that allows him to selectively rewrite laws as he sees fit, and he decided to change the starting date for the employer mandate. That gives employers ever reason – indeed, plenty of incentive – to cancel their health care plans and dump employees into the public exchange dungeons.
The Administration also decided to scale back on policing the public exchanges for fraud, since employers got a one-year reprieve from the reporting requirements that would have helped verify the eligibility of subsidy recipients. Instead, the public exchanges will be able to “accept the applicant’s attestation regarding enrollment in eligible employer-sponsored plans.” If your employer doesn’t offer a plan deemed “affordable” by the commissars, and you meet certain income requirements, you’re supposed to get a subsidy so you can buy Obama’s overpriced, low-quality insurance on the public exchanges. The “affordability” of employer plans will now be based on the word of employees, while income eligibility will be subjected to random testing.
That’s assuming the public exchanges don’t just blow up on the launch pad, which is a distinct possibility, since they’re still far behind schedule.
It’s funny how just about every new ObamaCare story ends with more people tumbling into those “public exchanges,” isn’t it? Those exchanges wiil devolve into a titanic welfare program that much of the “middle class” becomes hooked on. It won’t matter that they’re under-funded and behind schedule; there will be deafening cries from everyone whose employer decided to bail out of the health insurance market, so fresh gobs of taxpayer money will get pumped into the system with reckless urgency. It will be considered unspeakably rude to mention the original cost projections of ObamaCare, or the effect on the national debt. Anyone who does will be angrily informed he is “living in the past,” while the rest of us have to march “forward.”
The worse the system malfunctions, the more it will cost… and the more politically difficult serious reform will become… until the long-awaited day arrives that ObamaCare can be pronounced an utter failure, not by the critics who were right all along, but by the former ObamaCare boosters who will force single-payer nationalized health care upon us. The black hole forming at the heart of ObamaCare was the true purpose of the program all along.