Just when you thought ObamaCare couldn’t get any worse. Via the Washington Examiner’s Byron York:
Investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Committee have discovered that a little-known provision in the national health care law has allowed the federal government to pay nearly $2 billion to unions, state public employee systems, and big corporations to subsidize health coverage costs for early retirees. At the current rate of payment, the $5 billion appropriated for the program could be exhausted well before it is set to expire.
The discovery came on the eve of an oversight hearing focused on the workings of an obscure agency known as CCIO — the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight. CCIO, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, oversees the implementation of Section 1102 of the Affordable Care Act, which created something called the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program. The legislation called for the program to spend a total of $5 billion, beginning in June 2010 — shortly after Obamacare was passed — and ending on January 1, 2014, as the system of national health care exchanges was scheduled to go into effect.
The idea was to subsidize unions, states, and companies that had made commitments to provide health insurance for workers who retired early — between the ages of 55 and 64, before they were eligible for Medicare. According to a new report prepared by the Department of Health and Human Services, “People in the early retiree age group…often face difficulties obtaining insurance in the individual market because of age or chronic conditions that make coverage unaffordable or inaccessible.” As a result, fewer and fewer organizations have been offering coverage to early retirees; the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program was designed to subsidize such coverage until the creation of Obamacare’s health-care exchanges.
The program began making payouts on June 1, 2010. Between that date and the end of 2010, it paid out about $535 million dollars. But according to the new report, the rate of spending has since increased dramatically, to about $1.3 billion just for the first two and a half months of this year. At that rate, it could burn through the entire $5 billion appropriation as early as 2012.
Where is the money going? According to the new report, the biggest single recipient of an early-retiree bailout is the United Auto Workers, which has so far received $206,798,086. Other big recipients include AT&T, which received $140,022,949, and Verizon, which received $91,702,538. General Electric, in the news recently for not paying any U.S. taxes last year, received $36,607,818. General Motors, recipient of a massive government bailout, received $19,002,669.
Please make sure to read the whole thing for more information on who else has gotten a bailout as a result of the passage of health care “reform.” State governments, more unions …
Looks like Pelosi was right after all: They really did have to pass ObamaCare so they/we could find out what was in it.
The scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours mentality continues. “Change” you can believe in, yada yada, etc.
**Posted by Phineas
A couple of weeks ago, the infamous Iowahawk penned an essay about how Americans should stop whining about our $3.7 trillion nation budget and showed how we could live on just $10 billion a day. Like everything the Sage of Ottumwa writes, it was hilarious satire.
Not to be left out of the fun, Bill Whittle has provided us this video version. Enjoy:
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
I just threw up a little bit – well, ok, a whole lot – in my mouth after watching this video:
Seriously, watch it. Talk about sheer chutzpah!
Via Hoosierpundit, who nails it:
That’s District 69 Democratic State Representative Dave Cheatham (Dave Cheat ‘Em) comparing his retreat to Illinois to avoid doing his job to soldiers being deployed to Afghanistan to fight for their country. Disgusting.
Our soldiers are leaving home to do a job serving their country by going to Afghanistan. The Democrats ran away from doing their jobs serving the people of Indiana by fleeing to Illinois. The soldiers in Afghanistan are fighting and dying. The Democrats aren’t in pitched combat. Their lives aren’t in danger. They’re not dying.
And he cut and run from his responsibility, something our fine men and women in uniform do not do. How dare this jerk morally equate his cowardly actions with the courageous actions of our sailors and soldiers and airmen?
Doug Powers puts an even finer point on things:
Troops in Afghanistan:
The Marines in Garmsir spend a lot of time talking about the heat. A thermometer flat-lined one particular day, when temperatures reached 135 degrees Fahrenheit in the sun.
“It’s even too hot at night for the mosquitoes,” says one Marine.
They live in crude mud-wall compounds. There are no sewage system, no telephones, no electricity — these young men have been sleeping in the dirt for weeks.
The Democrats wouldn’t speculate on how long they’d stay in Urbana. But if a person had to stay indefinitely in Urbana, the Comfort Suites would not be a bad place.
The hotel has a fitness room (the TV was turned to “I Love Lucy”), an indoor swimming pool (“maximum bather load: 50?) and a hot tub (“maximum bather load: 6?). The Democrats had not yet taken advantage of the amenities, according to hotel staff, fellow guests and the Democrats themselves.
Yeah, sounds like a real war zone out there in Urbana, Illinois.
Which looks like the toughest place to be? Perhaps Rep. Cheatham should be the one to answer that question.