Friday, October 5, 2012

Redondo Beach, City Government, and Public Employee Costs

The battle over benefits and budgets that took place in Redondo Beach’s City Council meeting last week reminded me of the missing debate that this country and our Congress could have conducted around The Affordable Care Act – ObamaCare -- the same issue that Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney was willing to discuss in last week’s debate with embattled incumbent Barack Obama.
Medical insurance costs have increased for the Beach City, and many municipalities throughout the country ,following the passage of the (Un)Affordable Care Act, even though the President assured opposed voters that access would increase while costs would decrease.
The battle between out-of-pocket and premium payments exposes the challenges connected with attempting to insure everybody. I wish that Redondo’s health insurance consultant had been in Congress to suggest his “pay as you go” model, which would incentivize prudent use of care as opposed to imposing a massive mandate, a tax according to the Supreme Court, which compels everyone to enter the fraying and failing health insurance market, still overburdened and overregulated to the hurt of health insurance companies, hospitals, and insurance carriers.
The Redondo Beach council meeting highlighted another political dynamic in the healthcare-benefits-municipal costs mix: the public sector unions. I cannot stress this enough: employees have a right to organize, but to permit then to hold cities hostage to unsustainable employee contracts, without even providing city leaders the freedom to select different plans providing the same services, invites cost increases, government overruns, and lesser care and coverage for all employees.

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