Some states as a group have promised hundreds of billions more in retiree health benefits than they have saved up, so now their leaders are scrambling to cut costs.
The Wall Street Journal: As Retiree Health-Care Bills Mount, Some States Have A Solution: Stop Paying
North Carolina corrections official Charles Johnson will soon lose a major perk he can offer recruits when the state ends a promise to pay health-care bills once workers retire. “It’s going to make a difficult situation even more difficult,” said Mr. Johnson, an assistant superintendent at Polk Correctional Institution in Butner, N.C. About 30% of the facility’s roughly 335 correctional-officer positions are currently empty, he said. States across the U.S. are testing how far they can reduce health benefits for their retirees as a way of coping with mounting liabilities and balancing budgets. (Gillers, 5/1)
In other news on health care costs —
The Atlantic: ‘Looping’ Created An Underground Insulin-Pump Market
One day last June, Doug Boss pulled into a police-station parking lot to meet a stranger from Craigslist. His purpose: to buy used insulin pumps. Boss has type 1 diabetes, and he relies on a small pump attached to his body to deliver continuous doses of insulin that keep him alive. To be clear, he didn’t need to buy used medical equipment on Craigslist. Boss, who is 55 and works in IT in Texas, has health insurance. He even has a new, in-warranty pump sitting at home. But he was thrilled to find on Craigslist a coveted old model that was made by the medical-device company Medtronic and discontinued years ago. What makes these outdated Medtronic pumps so desirable is, ironically, a security flaw. Boss was looking for a pump or two he could hack. (Zhang, 4/29)
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Source : Kaiser Health