In it’s ever growing more obvious disregard for the middle class & even the rule of law itself, Congress last week voted to retroactively allow for pension benefits to be reduced in the future. While the media focused on the Torture Report (another blatant disregard for morality & the rule of law,) Congress overturned nearly 40 years of Pension law and opened the door for future reductions of retiree benefits once guaranteed by law.
From an article on Naked Capitalism:
Cromnibus Pension Provisions Gut Forty Years of Policy, Allow Existing Pensions to Be Slashed
Under the bill, trustees would be enabled to cut pension benefits to current retirees, reversing a 40-year bond with workers who earned their retirement packages.
Under ERISA, the 1974 law governing pensions in the private sector, benefits already earned by a worker can’t be cut.
Now they can. That’s right. Even if you’re retired and vested in a private pension plan, your benefits could be cut. Congress retraded the deal (if I have the finance jargon right). That’s nauseating even for today’s official Washington. And the bill was passed in a thoroughly bipartisan way: Kline is a Minnesota Republican, and Miller is a “liberal” California Democrat. [Reach me that bucket, wouldja?]
Are Health Benefits Next?
One can certainly see the writing on the wall. With so many benefit promises made of the stuff of dreams (8% annual pension fund returns, income tax growth) and the declining quality & quantity of workers paying into Social Security, Medicare etc. it’s no wonder that these measures are being taken.
It’s plain to see that the progression from a fully vested fixed retirement payment to a “your on your own” plan is in the cards. Sure, the voters will scream, but that really doesn’t do anything anymore, now does it? Remember the banks…
The next logical step is to slash medical benefits as well. Although the insurance and the sickcare providers (health care industry) lobby heavily (and benefit handsomely,) from benefit and government largesse, the need will arise to reduce even further the monies available for non life-threatening procedures (think hip replacement, routine spinal surgeries, cataract & corneal surgeries etc.) The ability to afford these procedures then will then also decline for many.
With the upward trend in deductibles and the further reduction of pension benefits, there will also be less money available to pay that growing difference between cost & initial non covered deductible.
Become a Medical Traveler
Thus, the only option may be to take a trip to a distant land where not only is the service quality high by our standards, the cost is a fraction of what one would pay here in the US.
Don’t wait until you have an urgent health issue, start by doing your basic research now. Look at your family history, if you see a pattern maybe it’s a clue to what might lie ahead. Already have a medical issue? No time is better than right now to begin investigation into where alternate care may be had for a better price in case of any future needs. Relying on your now so called contractual health benefits or even Medicare may not even be an option in the future.
Please also see:
©2014 Ben Gangloff
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