Thursday, October 07, 2010

HHS Approves Corporate Dark Knights

International corporations find health reform's Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP) tantalizing. Currently feasting at the federal buffet are several dark corporate icons, A. T. Massey Coal (mine explosion) and Enbridge Employee Services, Inc.(oil pipeline spills).   Another firm with a dark shadow is Baxter International (deadly heparin).

Oddly, reinsurer General Re will benefit from the program. Even companies offering mini-med plans, McDonald's, Aetna and Cigna, are on the ERRP dole.  They get a free pass for under-insuring 1,000,000 Americans, plus a check from HHS (expected to last two years at current funding level of $5 billion).

Even lobbying firm Alston & Bird will formally gorge at the federal trough.  Health reform architect Tom Daschle worked for the lobbying house, alongside Bob Dole and ex-Medicare Chief Tom Scully.  Daschle switched employers mid legislation, going to DLA Piper.

Annually, these firms should get between $2,000 and $3,000 per under 65 retiree under ERRP.  It was once customary to errp, belch loudly after a good meal. It's amazing how traditions recur over time.

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