On Wed, Sep 2, 2009 at 1:14 PM, rick:
If the plan is to provide individuals without health insurance a means
to obtain it, and if private health insurers are on their own to
provide a minimum level of coverage, why bail out VEBAs or other
employer / union administered insurance plans?
I have mixed emotions on this. On the one hand, there's the issue of
growing insolvency of the old style pension plans. Those of us who
have had not one but two 'retirement' mechanisms legally turned to
dust have a little more sympathy for the guy who went to work for GM,
GE or IBM for 25 or 30 years thinking he had a pension and benefits to
safely retire on only to find that oops! We spent all that money
knowing FULL WELL that the funds were disintegrating. Those
pensioners are screwed because they worked with the knowledge that
they'd be covered and now they aren't.
The argument that anyone with a 5th grader's math skills can figure
out that 1k employees can't support the benefits of 5 times that
number of retirees doesn't hold water with me because it's a
contractual obligation that the employer should not be released from.
All those years of squeezing vendors /because they could/ and now
they're going to be let off without so much as a whisper of
admonition? Contracts are iron clad when GM squeezes a vendor but
'impossible to fulfill' when it's the employee retirement system
squeezing GM? Progressives my foot. Those are the actions of
Thurston Howell, not Karl Marx.
So I have mixed feelings about letting the employers off the hook, but
considerably solid feelings (solidarity forever brothers and sisters!)
regarding the employees who would be harmed by simply abrogating the
pension contracts. I'd personally force the employers being bailed
out (for so it is) to kick in a percentage, a big percentage. Say,
like a mortgage, where the interest they'll pay will more than make up
for the time and effort of the Feds to bail them out.
That this is included is an artifact of how legislation is produced.
I'd much prefer a separate bill but then we run into the inevitable
problems of setting up another office of somethingorother with a
commissioner, an auditor, quarterly reports to Congress and all that
stuff that we tend to see as government overhead without much benefit.
Is there a benefit to wrapping this health insurance into the larger
bill? Maybe. Depends on the final language I think.