Study says City of San Diego underfunding health benefits

Not as bad as Deroit, though

City of San Diego employees may soon see their retiree health benefits cut significantly, according to a study by ElderBranch, an online information portal dealing with healthcare issues.

Cities are underfunding employees' healthcare plans, and more than half won't be able to close the gap through tax boosts and spending cuts alone. San Diego is one of the troubled cities, says ElderBranch.

Last year, only 44 percent of the annual required contribution to healthcare was funded in San Diego, according to the study. Indianapolis was worst, with 9 percent.

San Diego taxes would have to go up 2.12 percent and spending cut 2.1 percent to close the funding gap. (Detroit spending would have to be cut 17.4 percent.) ElderBranch figures that an additional 19.1 percent of San Diego employees' salaries would have to be taken to close the funding gap. (Again, Detroit is worst, with an estimated 32.2 percent.)

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This is an interesting post considering the City's 30+ year history on retiree health care. More specifically in (I believe) 2010 the City negotiated with all of its employee groups this exact issue. The agreement reached offered four options, one only available to employees with substantial years over service. The other options included one with substantial NEW contributions by the employee. Another option designed a new 401k styled medical for retiree where the risk is shifted from the City to the employee. Like the pension system, retiree health care costs will diminish because of the negotiated changes. However, the new wildcard in the health care deck is Obamacare...if the projections and promises made by the President don't materialize, all bets are off!

JustWondering: The Obamacare fiasco certainly adds a new variable. Best, Don Bauder

Fiasco? Whatever attempt it is, why is it Americans have less benefits that most (all) other advanced nations? Why have we become a nation where only the rich and employed can have healthcare and those who are between jobs are uninsured? Why is it in Britain they consider health care a birth-right and here the people who "have" do not want to help those in their society that "have not" for whatever reasons. The society that built the ecosystem that made it possible for the 1%, rich, whatever label of people to build their businesses or accumulate their wealth, no want to deny the members of the society that supported their ascent to wealth? Do these business schools that spit out these self-absorbed individuals ever measure the contribution that the rank-in-file make to their success? Is there any empathy to those who build these companies hoping for a middle class life? I hope they cut their pensions. Because if they are not fighting for those benefits and the benefits of future workers, they deserve to have their benefits cuts.

I thought that's what Medicare and Medicaid were for. BTW have you seen the tax rates in those so called advanced nations or the quality of medical care in places such as Cuba where the government makes all the decisions ...on everything. Too many people think they are entitled...too few are willing to bare the costs. Can improvements be made? You bet they can and should be. But the current plan, the Obamacare Tax Act, inappropriately named Affordable Care Act is NOT affordable and NOT the answer.

JustWondering: I am not prepared to say Obamacare is the wrong answer, but I certainly will concede that too many spoons were permitted to stir the pot. Best, Don Bauder

Ponzi: You make excellent points. Even some conservatives I know prefer a single-payer system. Our attempts at healthcare reform have bowed to the power and money of the insurance industry, creating a hodgepodge system. Best, Don Bauder

Nobody who believes in "single payer" is a conservative.

Because all of these other "advanced countries" have piled up more debt per capita or as a percentage of GDP than we have.

If the city is underfunding retiree healthcare I wonder where the funds that should be going to healthcare are going? Petco Park, the new Library????

Dennis: Those would be two good suppositions. Best, Don Bauder

But, but, I thought the library was fully funded with private funds (except, of course, the state grant, the redevelopment monies, the school bond money...). And Petco Park--that is being paid for by using TOT revenue--no general fund money is needed. Well, ok, just a little bit. Well, ok, maybe around $11 mil per year out of the general fund.

aardvark: I would say it's more than $11 million a year going to Petco from the general fund. In all, I would say it's costing the city $17 million a year, but there can be arguments. In any case, it shows how much leaders were lying when they said it would pay for itself after the initial $300 million gift.

Bureaucrats have told the grand jury that they were instructed by the Golding administration to make it look like TOT revenues would service the ballpark debt...rig the numbers, and never mind how. Best, Don Bauder

Don: I used some older numbers--the ones used by CCDC when they took over bond payments (which is really the same as using taxpayer money to pay down the bonds--just taking it from a different pot), but I believe your numbers are more accurate.

aardvark: There is controversy on how much Petco costs the taxpayers each year. There is no controversy about this: it's a lot. Best, Don Bauder

'Not as bad as Detroit". Sounds like a great new city motto.

CaptainObvious: Why don't you manufacture some bumper stickers, sell them for a dollar each, and see how rich you get? Best, Don bauder

I can't restrain myself: San Detroitus?

Duhbya: At the U-T, a couple of times, when San Diego's wine consumption per capita was announced as one of the nation's highest, I tried to put in my lead that the city should be renamed San Di Wino. Both times I got shot down by the copy desk. Best, Don Bauder

viewer: The homeless enjoy better weather in San Diego than Detroit, too. Best, Don Bauder

viewer: Homeless don't pay property taxes anywhere. Best, Don Bauder

Duhbya: Somebody stick you with a cattle prod? Best, Don Bauder

Duhbya: I can never outdo you. Congratulations. Best, Don Bauder

Thanks. I drive my enduring and endearing bride nuts, however.

Duhbya: You mean you didn't marry a punster? Best, Don Bauder

No, I went with a youngster. I should probably clarify that potentially perverse statement to reveal that she's just 6 years younger than I. But I look my age, She does not.

Duhbya: It's a good thing you capitalized the word "She." That may have gotten you out of the doghouse. Best, Don Bauder

Wait a minute. We're always being told that the only reason USPS is hemorrhaging red ink is because of the "unfair" requirement that they fully fund their pensions and retiree health care funds. If adequately funding i bad and wrong and evil, then therefore partially funding is a good thing, right? After all, the less we fund it today means more money can be spent today, and we can worry about tomorrow tomorrow. Right?

jnojr: There are a couple of ways employers keep going financially. One is to overstate the expected return of the pension fund -- say 8.5% a year. Another is to underfund the pension. Best, Don Bauder

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