Chicago- Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced he will begin cutting healthcare benefits to retired city workers over the next three years, displacing the cost burden from the city budget onto federal taxpayers.
The Chicago Tribune reports:
Still getting health insurance: Police officers and firefighters who retired between the ages of 55 and 64 and are not yet eligible for Medicare but whose coverage is guaranteed under union contracts, as well as workers who retired before August 1989 and are protected by a legal settlement.
Those not exempt from the phaseout will be receiving a letter from the mayor next week that will inform of them of the coming changes–not limited to changes in premiums, deductibles and benefits. (But “you can keep your current coverage,” remember?)
Once the city health benefits are completely phased out, retirees will then be forced to pay for their own health insurance premiums or “opt in” to Obamacare (Affordable Healthcare Act).
Funny, however, in the city that eats, sleeps and breathes its support for President Obama and his takeover of their healthcare, Rahm is curiously getting pushback to the cuts in city provided coverage.
The Tribune also reports:
Henry Bayer, executive director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, said the uncertainties of the Affordable Care Act and the state insurance exchanges they would create make the city’s plan hard to assess.
“This uncertainty will cause anxiety and fear for tens of thousands of seniors who gave their working lives to public service–men and women whose retirement savings are already under attack in the name of ‘pension reform.'” Bayer said. “Our union will be working to get answers to our many questions, to ensure the City Council closely oversees the administration’s proposals, and to protect access to affordable health care for city retirees now and in the future.”
Chicago is expecting an increase in healthcare enrollment of 47,000, currently at 37,000 retirees over the next 10 years, at a cost burden of $541 million.
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