Bob Horton’s weekly Greenwich Time column takes Peter Tesei to task for overstating the increased health insurance costs ObamaCare will impose on the town.
[ObamaCare] Tesei claimed, would cost the town an additional $30 million between now and 2019. He based his conclusions on a $7,000 study he commissioned from Brown & Brown, one of the nation’s largest insurance brokers.
I spoke Thursday with the report’s author, Dr. Joseph Fields, a former professor of insurance at the University of Connecticut who now works with Brown & Brown. The projected increases, he said, were based on studying town labor contracts and “on what we’ve been seeing in quotes from insurance carriers.”
“The projected price increases vary from carrier to carrier, and from town to town,” the former UConn professor said.
“I used conservative (high) estimates because it produces a number that is going to scare people a little bit,” he said.
There is nothing inherently wrong with using a conservative estimate of rising costs, but if you look at the underlying numbers that Tesei presented in defense of his claim, a full $19 million of the $30 million increase only comes into play in the last fiscal year, 2018-19. And it is not an insurance premium increase; it is a tax on so-called Cadillac plans, which means it is completely avoidable. Cadillac plans refer to expensive plans, like many found in the Northeast, where costs are higher than in the rest of the nation in general. Imposition of the tax was delayed until 2018 to provide enough time to find solutions to avoid the tax hit.
A couple of points here: if $19 million hits later, then $11 million hits sooner – goodbye forever, Byram pool. That’s no loss, except to Bob and Fudrucker, but Horton’s second claim, that the charge on expensive insurance plans “is not a premium increase, it’s a tax, which means it’s completely avoidable” is so silly that only a Democrat could write it, let alone believe it. The tax – a 35% surcharge, will apply to any plan costing more than $10,000 for an individual and $27,000 for a family. I have no idea what Greenwich is paying for its employees’ coverage but I know that I pay $1,000 a month for a plan that covers nothing except the postage to send me denial of claim letters. That’s not a Cadillac that’s a Yugo, yet Obama and Horton want to whack me with a surcharge.
The Cadillac tax is going to hit almost everyone in the Northeast, especially towns like ours with generous employee policies. Even The New York Times acknowledged this as far back as 2009 when the Messiah was just warming up, but seems to have forgotten its warning as time went on.
“Completely avoidable” how, Bob? By reducing health benefits for town workers? Fine by me, but I anticipate a certain resistance on their part. Lowering health care costs across the northeast by having Elizabeth Warren conduct a special campfire dance? Already these costs which were projected by Obama to fall $2,500 this year have increased by that amount. Here’s news: you can’t increase benefits without paying for them. Who’d have guessed?
So Horton looks at a $30 million dollar increase in the town’s insurance costs, dismisses $11 million as not worth bothering about, figures we don’t have to worry about the rest for four or five years and by that time, some secret, undisclosed plan to easily avoid those costs will have surfaced. I don’t understand why Fudrucker hasn’t recruited Bob to run for public office – he’d fit in beautifully with the boys in Hartford.