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    Entries in retiree healthcare (3)


    The Week in Public Finance: Repealing Obamacare, How a California Ruling Threatens Pensions and More

    A roundup of money (and other) news governments can use.
    BY  JANUARY 6, 2017

    How Much Will Dismantling Obamacare Cost?

    As leaders in Congress kick off the 115th session by assuring the public they will repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in full by the end of this year, a newly released estimate puts the cost of a total repeal at roughly $350 billion through 2027.

    According to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, repealing the law's Medicare-related cuts and its tax increases -- such as the "Cadillac tax" on high-cost insurance plans -- could cost the government more than if it left the ACA in place.

    But the report found that lawmakers could save money if they just repeal parts of the law. For example, if Congress only does away with the ACA's coverage provisions (mainly the Medicaid expansion), it could save $1.55 trillion through 2027.

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    The Week in Public Finance: Unsustainable Health-Care Costs, an Oil State Not in Crisis and More

    BY  SEPTEMBER 9, 2016

    Retiree Health-Care Liabilities Are Dramatically Increasing

    State governments’ cost of keeping all their promises to retirees is “unsustainable.” That’s the conclusion of a report this week by S&P Global Ratings that looked at the growth in total retiree health-care liabilities across state governments.

    In just two years, so-called "other post-employment benefit" (OPEB) liabilities have increased 12 percent, to $554 billion for states alone. This reverses a trend of stable to declining liabilities found in S&P’s past two annual surveys.

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    A Missing Opportunity to Fix Government Finances

    Most places focus on pensions for cost-cutting. But a new study argues it would be easier for governments to reduce the collective $1 trillion they owe in retiree health care.
    BY  MARCH 31, 2016

    Pension liabilities have been a high-profile issue in recent years, and they remain a major budget burden for state and local governments. States and cities have tried to rein in expenses by issuing less bond debt, and they've tried to mitigate further increases in their pension liabilities.

    But a new study released Thursday says governments are missing a key opportunity to reclaim billions in annual revenue by not making severe cuts to retiree health care, commonly referred to as other post-employment benefits, or OPEB.

    “There continues to be a lot of emphasis on pensions, and rightly so,” said Stephen Eide, a co-author of the report produced by the Manhattan Institute. “But we wrote this report to say it might make more sense to focus more on OPEB reform than pensions -- the simple reason being, legally speaking, you’re more likely to get further in bringing down OPEB costs than pension costs.”

    In other words, states have more flexibility in restructuring retiree health-care benefits, and doing so could save hundreds of billions of dollars.

    Eide and co-author Daniel DiSalvo argue that retiree health-care costs are just as big a culprit for crowding out other government priorities as pension costs have been, although the latter has received much more of the blame.

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