From Investors Business Daily. (H/T Jan)
According to a new Government Accountability Office report, the federal government has so far handed out $2.7 billion out of a $5 billion program squirreled away in ObamaCare.
The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program is advertized as a way to “stabilize the availability of employer-sponsored coverage for early retirees,” according to a Health and Human Services memo.
The argument goes that companies are increasingly dropping retiree health benefits, leaving those who retire before becoming eligible for Medicare in a jam — either they face exorbitant rates for insurance or expose themselves to potentially catastrophic health costs.
[…]According to figures obtained by IBD, 10 of the top 12 recipients are either unions or public employee groups. In fact, the biggest single recipient was the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust, which alone grabbed more than 8% of all the funds handed out so far. Other union beneficiaries include the United Food and Commercial Workers, the United Mine Workers and the Teamsters.
Meanwhile, almost half of the money doled out has gone to state and local governments, the GAO found.
[…]The problem is that these groups are the least likely to drop their retiree health benefits, calling the lie to the Obama administration’s whole “stabilizing” excuse.
In fact, over the past 10 years, the share of state and local governments offering retiree benefits increased — climbing to 83% from 80% in 2001, according to an annual Kaiser Family Foundation health benefits survey.
That’s at a time when private companies have been dropping retiree health plans to cut costs, with the share of large firms offering such benefits falling to 26% this year from 37% in 2001, the Kaiser survey shows.
So this ObamaCare money is really being used mainly to pay off unions and governments that would have provided these benefits anyway.
While the law forbids employers from using the funds for anything other than retiree health costs, money is fungible, freeing up union and government resources for other uses like, say, helping Obama get re-elected.
And what will the unions do with that money? IBD explains.
United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard, speaking on radio host Ed Schultz’s show last Monday, declared, “What we need is more militancy.” Asked to clarify, Gerard said: “I think we’ve got to start a resistance movement. If Wall Street Occupation doesn’t get the message, I think we’ve got to start blocking bridges and doing that kind of stuff.”
The Canadian union leader then denounced Americans’ 2008 election of Tea Party representatives to the House as “nut jobs,” and called for more force and illegality: “We ought to be doing more than occupying parks. We ought to start occupying bridges. We ought to start occupying the banks’ places themselves.”
[…]Two months ago another White House ally, Teamsters chief Jimmy Hoffa, openly called for his members to “take these sons of bitches out” in Congress, as Obama stood silently at his side. “They got a war with us and there’s only going to be one winner,” he growled.
Hoffa’s Teamsters, it should be noted, have the most violent record of all labor unions, clocking in 454 incidents of violence since 1991, according to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research in Washington.
Then there’s the SEIU-linked Acorn, which has made OWS its latest cause. The Obama-tied group had supposedly disbanded, but now operates as New York Communities for Change (NYCC), using the strong-arm political tactics of community organizer Saul Alinsky.
Since it was discovered that NYCC was a prime funder and director of the Occupy movement, Fox News reports that the group has been shredding documents, firing staff, offering up alibis and surveilling Fox News personnel.
One starts to wonder: Is Occupy Wall Street a grass-roots movement, or a corrupt, violent organization whose real center is the Obama administration itself? One thing’s for sure: It isn’t interested in democracy.
You can see the full list of Occupy Wall Street crimes here – it’s up to 167 crimes right now, including rape. The unions are heavily involved in the Occupy Wall Street protests.
I’m concerned that the government is getting too closely involved with groups of people who are not peaceful and law-abiding.