Thursday, August 27, 2009

Obamacare: the legalized theft of public finances?

I'm growing more and more angry about the abomination of desolation that is the health care reform package being advocated by the Obama administration and the Democratic Party. I've written about various aspects of it before on this blog.

The latest hidden corruption to emerge from this legislative sewer was exposed by the Detroit Free Press in an article published on August 24th.

Antilabor forces say it's welfare for the UAW and Democrats' union allies. Labor supporters say it falls short of what's needed as tens of thousands of union members are pushed into early retirement as employers cut back health care coverage.

They're both talking about a $10-billion provision tucked deep inside thousands of pages of health care overhaul bills that could help the UAW's retiree health-care plan and other union-backed plans.

It would see the government -- at least temporarily -- pay 80 cents on the dollar to corporate and union insurance plans for claims between $15,000 and $90,000 for retirees age 55 to 64.

Big businesses with union workers are twice as likely to offer retiree benefits as nonunion ones.

Greg Mourad of the National Right to Work Committee called it "a shameless case of political payback," saying Democrats and President Barack Obama are trying "to force the rest of us to pay billions to cover those unions' health care."

Labor advocates say even more funding may be needed.

"It is not enough money," said former U.S. Rep. David Bonior, a Mt. Clemens Democrat who chairs the board at Washington, D.C.-based American Rights at Work, a labor advocacy group. "That will have to be supplemented to fill the gap."

The health care debate roiling the nation promises an even greater impact in Michigan: It could determine whether the UAW's gamble that it can insure 850,000 retirees from Detroit's automakers pays off or goes bust.

Thanks to Detroit's twin auto bankruptcies and other concessions, the UAW's voluntary employee benefit association, or VEBA, had to take stock of unknown value for $24 billion in claims, while adding thousands of early retirees to its rolls.

Outside experts estimate the funds have about 30 cents in cash for every dollar of future claims, with no guarantee of what its stock assets will be worth. Lance Wallach, a New York-based VEBA expert, says if the funds "don't get something, they're out of business in 12 years."

That something may be national health care reform.

Key provisions in House and Senate proposals set aside $10 billion to pay some claims for early retirees covered by employers and VEBAs, before other cost-saving measures kick in. Critics call it a union giveaway, but the union says the money would keep companies from further slashing coverage.

. . .

Labor unions, including the UAW -- which has taken on about $90 billion in health care liabilities for its retirees from the three metro Detroit automakers -- have fought hard for the so-called reinsurance provision that would cover 80% of early retirement claims between $15,000 and $90,000.

. . .

Stephen Diamond, a professor at Santa Clara (Calif.) University and a VEBA expert, said the UAW helped get Obama elected; now the union owes its membership to make sure that whatever reform is crafted "protects the interests of their members and their retirees."

There's much more at the link.

So there we have it. Obamacare turns out to be not only a massive boondoggle, socializing much of private medicine and foisting billions and billions in dollars of future costs onto the taxpayer; it also seeks to aid political allies of the Obama administration and Democratic party from the taxpayers' pockets, to the initial tune of about $10 billion - and who knows how much more later? If this isn't theft from the public purse, I don't know what is!

Are we going to stand for this rape of our public finances in the name of political payback and expediency?

If we do, then America deserves all she gets - because we'll have turned her from the great republic that she once was, and still is to a large extent, into a nation populated by idiots and run by charlatans.

Obamacare delenda est!


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