P-Mac's column poses the interesting question.
McArdle writes, “Insofar as health care is the fundamental problem here, the problem is with retiree health care, not health care for current workers. In other words, with people who are already mostly covered by America's universal healthcare system, Medicare. Why have the Big Three provided extremely expensive health benefits for retirees for decades, when there was a really very generous government program available? Because that's what the union wanted, and it had enough muscle to get it.”
There's far more to this than just a tussle between the UAW and the Big 2.00000011.
Think for a moment: if UAW retirees can be forced to join Medicare, what about WEAC retirees of MPS? Or Milwaukee County retirees?
The yawning black-hole silence about switching UAW folks to Medicare (except here, surprisingly enough) is mostly because of the implications for other union agreements which specify lifetime super-bennies.
After all, the Big 2.000000009 are not the ONLY entities in danger of bankruptcy.
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My dear departed grandfather worked for the City of Milwaukee. Due to this, he was given lifetime health care coverage, but was paying about $300 per month for it. However, it did cover the medications and copays that Medicare did not.
Without that extra coverage, he would have gone broke trying to pay for these things out of pocket or to purchase private insurance. But that is why he worked for less pay than he could've gotten in the private sector.
It's called planning ahead, because there is some crazy, greedy bastards out there.
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