How Taxpayers Will Bail Out Detroit
On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew ostensibly ruled out a federal government bailout of Detroit following its recent declaration of bankruptcy. “You know George, Detroit’s economic problems have been a long time in developing…I think when it comes to the questions between Detroit and its creditors, that’s what Detroit is going to have to work out with the creditors,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. Not quite. Detroit is proposing an effort to offload much of its bloated healthcare costs onto the American taxpayer, using ObamaCare as the vehicle for doing so.
“The Affordable Care Act does change the possibilities here dramatically,” said Neil Bomberg, a program director at the National League of Cities. “It offers a very high-quality, potentially very affordable way to get people into health care without the burden falling back onto the city and town.” In reality, the proposal would do nothing more than shift the so-called “burden” of fiscal irresponsibility produced by decades of “city and town” politicians colluding with labor unions onto other cities and towns that had nothing to do with that irresponsibility. As for “affordability,” such a statement is equally nonsensical. More affordability for Detroit, and other progressive sinkholes, equals less affordability for those expected to make up the difference.
Detroit’s Bailout “Plan B”: Obamacare
When Detroit filed for bankruptcy, the city’s demands for a Federal bailout promptly rose to the surface and then just as promptly dissipated following a polite but stern rejection by the president, almost too fast and without any fight, according to some. Or maybe that is only how it appeared. According to the NYT, Detroit’s advisors may be looking at a completely different source of Federal “assistance” – a much more indirect one, even if at the end of the day, it is taxpayers who end up footing the bill. Obamacare.
From the NYT:
As Detroit enters the federal bankruptcy process, the city is proposing a controversial plan for paring some of the $5.7 billion it owes in retiree health costs: pushing many of those too young to qualify for Medicare out of city-run coverage and into the new insurance markets that will soon be operating under the Obama health care law.
Officials say the plan would be part of a broader effort to save Detroit tens of millions of dollars in health costs each year, a major element in a restructuring package that must be approved by a bankruptcy judge. It is being watched closely by municipal leaders around the nation, many of whom complain of mounting, unsustainable prices for the health care promised to retired city workers.