ObamaCare brings another unwelcome Tax Day surprise for Illinoisans

ObamaCare brings another unwelcome Tax Day surprise for Illinoisans

How an SEIU contract sticks Illinois taxpayers with the costs of rising premiums under ObamaCare.

As Illinoisans scramble to complete their 2014 taxes, many are finding an unpleasant surprise. Roughly half of those who received subsidies to purchase health coverage on the health-insurance exchange as part of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ObamaCare, may have to repay a portion of the money back as a result of their higher-than-expected income for last year.

But it also turns out that all Illinois taxpayers will be footing a higher-than-expected ObamaCare bill for another group of individuals. The cost of providing health insurance for the day care providers who take care of children from low-income families as part of a state program are skyrocketing.

Through a 2005 executive order from then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, obtained the power to force-unionize home day care providers who received payments from the Illinois Child Care Assistance Program. These providers are essentially treated as state employees and are thus eligible for taxpayer-supported health-insurance benefits.

As part of the SEIU’s agreement with the state covering eligible child care workers in Illinois, health-insurance premiums were not supposed to increase by more than 9 percent between fiscal years 2014 and 2015. But the state’s contribution for health insurance actually ballooned to $540.22 per enrollee per month from $460.79 per enrollee per month, which is a 28 percent increase. So why did premiums increase at three times the allowable rate?

It turns out that the SEIU contract contains a little-noticed provision that states the following:

“Annual rate increases shall be determined via actuarial analysis agreed to by the parties but in no event shall exceed 9% annually. In addition, the State shall ensure compliance with the Affordable Care Act no later than July 1, 2014 irrespective of any limitations on annual rate increases.”

Instead of providing some degree of protection for taxpayers, the contract exempts cost increases that are the result of ObamaCare. In other words, taxpayers are, once again, forced to dig deeper into their own pockets to pay for this calamitous law.

President Barack Obama had repeatedly promised that the average family would see their health-insurance premiums fall by an average of $2,500 per year, but the reality is that health-insurance premiums are continuing to increase. This not only hits Illinois families through their own health-care costs, it also hits them again when they must pay the state-government spending tab via higher taxes or service cuts.

Unfortunately, there may be no relief in sight. According to health-finance researchers at the University of Minnesota, these costs are going to continue to increase.

Many Illinois families have already lost their doctors and health plans, are paying dramatically more in health-insurance premiums and are facing the prospect of repaying their subsidies. Meanwhile, the SEIU has made sure these same taxpayers would also pick up the tab for skyrocketing premiums elsewhere.

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