Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another day...

... another ObamaCare success story.

One of the largest union-administered health-insurance funds in New York is dropping coverage for the children of more than 30,000 low-wage home attendants, union officials said. The union blamed financial problems it said were caused by the state’s health department and new national health-insurance requirements.

The fund is administered by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. Union officials said the state compelled the fund to start buying coverage from a third party, which increased premiums by 60%. State health officials denied forcing the union fund to make the switch, saying the fund had been struggling financially even before the switch to third-party coverage.

The fund informed its members late last month that their dependents will no longer be covered as of Jan. 1, 2011. Currently about 6,000 children are covered by the benefit fund, some until age 23.
(italics, ours)

Considering there have been quite a few pro-ObamaCare union entities and locals that were granted temporary exemptions from having to comply with ObamaCare by the Department of Health and Human Services, one wonders whether the big cheeses at 1199SEIU were merely incompetent or simply were not bringing enough to the table to get themselves off the hook.

“In addition, new federal health-care reform legislation requires plans with dependent coverage to expand that coverage up to age 26,” Behroozi wrote in a letter to members Oct. 22. “Our limited resources are already stretched as far as possible, and meeting this new requirement would be financially impossible.”

Behroozi estimated that the fund faced a $15 million shortfall in 2011 and more in the following years for the coverage of workers’ children.

Well, well, well. Berhoozi who runs 1199SEIU's pension and benefit plans is learning the hard way that all these extra bennies mandated by ObamaCare and which were cheered on by many of these same unions comes with a real price attached. A price that is causing this particular union to start dumping coverage.

Lest anyone think we're engaging in gratuitous union-bashing, let us be clear we have a tremendous amount of sympathy for these home attendants as they provide a valuable service to society in tending to the sick and elderly. It is their leadership we are excoriating and for which we have no need.


steve said...

Did you read your linked story? I did. It says

"The union said in a statement that the state required the fund to participate in a new program — the Family Health Plus Buy-In Program — beginning in 2008. The union said it expected that by joining the program, many of its members would qualify for state assistance for health-insurance coverage. “Instead they raised insurance rate increases without any increase in funding, and then cut Medicaid funding to the same workers nine times in the last three years,” the union said in a statement."

I was unaware that Obamacare existed in 2008.

I assume you did the numbers? If 6,000 kids cost $15 million, that is $2500 per kid. That does not add up unless these are exceptionally sick kids. It sounds much more like the union is rolling in other expenses and courting sympathy by using the children.

The 60% raise is also interesting. Romneycare, very similar to Obamacare, elicited no such rise in costs. While my corporation has seen yearly increases as high as 26%, this would be way out there.

Last of all, this is what the insurance company said about the rate increase.

"For the 1199 fund, premiums rose because Fidelis realized that the home health-care attendants are sicker than average, according to Mark Lane, president and chief executive of Fidelis Care. “These people are hard working people. There’s physical labor, which manifests itself in terms of more chronic and acute care type of illnesses,” said Lane."


Road Dawg said...

I read and enjoyed your links to the earmarks piece but also linked to flaws in it's thinking and my ethics questions. I will look forward to your comments later. (I know we go on with the new blogs, but some of us are tired, overworked and have to play catch-up with our reading) I was truly enlighted with your comments and links.

Exemptions like the cornhusker kickback, union exemptions or appropriations for questionable admistrative medical expenses all amount to the same end: Bribery and Fraud!

Can we stop this? Maybe a piece at a time.

Dean said...

Steve, I did indeed. I thought about adding that first paragraph you pulled to the body of the post but figured I had beaten the whole "When the government starts inserting itself into business decisions, bad things usually happen" horse enough.

Besides, the state denies compelling the union to join this program so I figured I would leave the whole union said, state said sordid affair alone.

But to your overall point, this merely reinforces some things regarding health care costs and ObamaCare: We know that healthcare costs have been rising for a variety of reasons even before ObamaCare, as you note. And we also know that because of these rising health care costs we absoluteley had to pass ObamaCare immediately if not sooner in order to bend the cost curve downward.

Additionally, we were sold ObamaCare on the promise that if we liked our current health care plan, we could keep it.

Now, some 8 months after the passage of ObamaCare, we are finding out that it is not at all bending the cost curve downward and further, has resulted in tens of thousands of people being dumped from their current coverage and which does not even count the over 1 million people that would've been dumped except for their company or union being granted a one year exemption from O-Care.

It's amazing. The thing really hasn't gone into effect yet and it is already proving itself to be a truly transformative piece of legislation.

So, to put a nice neat bow on things with respect to this post (and which is something I believe we can both agree upon): Governmment mandates (both pre and post-ObamaCare) + union mismanagement = workers getting the shaft.

Hooray, ObamaCare.

steve said...

Road Dawg- What will be the unintended consequence of doing away with earmarks? How was pork divvied up before earmarks became so common? How does money going to sates get spent now?

Before earmarks were common, money would go to the state where the money was to be spent and it was split up according to the wishes of the pols running the state at that time, in secrecy. All those buildings named after some Congressman still got built.

Do earmarks increase total spending? I concede that it is possible, but I am dubious. If notorious porkbarrel seeking Senator X wants a project to reward a favored donor, I would expect that he will factor that into his budget request one way or another. Without earmarks, he will just have to make sure the money gets appropriated back at the state level. Few will know. Hence, I would prefer we look at total spending, and what our money is being spent upon. If earmarks are repealed, which is actually ok with me, I think we will still have the same problems.


steve said...

Dean- Immediately? It took 13 months. As to government mandates, they are actually more problematic, in many ways, at the state level. It is the states which have mandated that insurance companies pay for specific kinds of care since states regulate health insurance.


Dean said...

Steve, regardless of how long it took to pass, the Democrats were insisting it had to be done "now", "immediately".... whatever term you care to use to transmit a sense of urgency. You do remember all that don't you?

You confuse Republican opposition with Democratic talking points.

Also, you seem a little put off that I'm banging on ObamaCare to the exclusion of onerous state regulations. Fair enough. I'll try to bang on counterproductive government intervention at the state level as well as the federal level.