Go back and look at P. 65, Section 164. It’s called “Reinsurance ”—but in the middle of defining that term, it suddenly turns into “reimbursement ”. Reinsurance is never defined (because it’s a fancy sounding ruse).
This provision sets up $10 Billion to reimburse “eligible ” health plans for retired workers between 55 and 65 yrs old, i.e. pre-Medicare retirees. It doesn’t have anything to do with reinsurance. It simply lays out a procedure by which those health plans will submit claims between $15k and $90k to be reimbursed by….you and me!
Noting that it was aimed at already-insured people, I wondered: Is there some politically influential entity where its people can retire at 55…with health insurance? And is that health plan underfunded? Would Congress be “sympathetic ” to offering taxpayer money to “reimburse ” them for health claims?
Why yes…Unions! Re-reading it with that in mind, I had no doubt this is just a big transfer of taxpayer money to big labor. And might it include those grossly underfunded public employee plans?
Greetings brave Jeanne. Actually, the Czar did not miss that at all, because the $10 billion amount was pretty much the first mention of any money in the bill. Neither did the Mandarin, when he posted on this very thing about ten minutes before Drudge picked up on it. His Inscrutableness’s spies are everywhere.
The fact is that while this can benefit unions, as well as public sector employees, there are numerous cases within private and public employment where in a person can retire with health benefits, pre-Medicare. The President, for example, retains health benefits. So too did manager-level people who worked for certain divisions within General Electric (or did as recently as 1998). Congress, Supreme Court retirees, et cetera, also fall into this category. So this probably should be there, and $10B is awfully specific enough to make one think they already know what this should cost—but the real question is why would this door be opened so wide that yes, unions and the crab-faced manager who glares at the people in the Social Security Office be let go with benefits if he accepts an early retirement package from some unlikely federal downsizing? For that, the Mandarin has the answer in his earlier post.
Jeannes adds that AFL-CIO president John Sweeney reaffirmed his union’s desire to see this piece included in the bill, even using suspiciously identical language, as if coded to say “We know it’s in there there, and dammit, we want it for ourselves.”
Incidentally, the Czar should add that the pre-Medicare coverage section appears out of nowhere smack at the end of Title I. It sticks out like a sore thumb because it does not really belong there when these topics are covered in more detail in Title II. But that’s tonight’s post.
Jeanne adds that she too cannot fathom the bizarro prominence of this Section within Title I, and adds, “Hope you’ll highlight this provision. Taxpayers are already furious. Imagine if they found out the bill contains a political payoff scheme for unions, hidden in sneaky language intended to deceive the public.” The Czar would change contains to allows, but the net effect is the same. And Jeanne, you just told the taxpayers yourself.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.