Could this healthcare reform benefit encourage more layoffs?

Call me silly, but it seems to me this could just encourage more layoffs - and layoffs of higher paid taxpayers, to boot - at the precise time that we really need to be encouraging broadening the tax base:

The White House Blog

Help Now Available for Employers Offering Early Retiree Health Insurance

Posted by Gary Locke on June 29, 2010 at 08:47 AM EDT

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services began accepting applications for a program that provides much needed financial relief for employers – as well as unions and state and local governments – providing coverage to early retirees.

The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program will provide $5 billion in financial assistance to help maintain coverage for early retirees age 55 and older who are not yet eligible for Medicare - another example of how health care reform is, and will continue to be, good for business.

Now, I understand the benefit of this program... And the fact that more employers are just screwing the workers over and cutting healthcare for retirees altogether.  But at a time when we need more people working and paying taxes, now it has become a little bit easier (and cheaper if they were offering healthcare bennies) to lay off higher paid people close to retirement and replacing those people with lower wage worker newbies OR not replacing them at all because they now have a nice deal sweetener to offer the workers to get them out.

Right now we don't need to be creating lower wage jobs to replace the higher paid ones.

A great benefit at the worst possible time... Unless there is something I am missing here?

And a situtation that could have been avoided altogether if we had implemented single payer healthcare reform. We'd be looking at high paying medical jobs - jobs paying more in taxes too - out the ying yang being created for years to come.  And they'd be jobs that would only be replacing the low paid person on the phone that denies you benefits to enrich the  health Insurance corporation CEO's fat bonuses, not to mentinon all of their lesser taxed or untaxed benefits from being hugely profitable at our health's expense.

In other healthcare reform news, the government is getting ready to unleash the beginings of enrolling high risk pools with  a 5 billion dollar down payment and web rollout:

The federal government will unveil the first real benefits from the health care reform law this week, as states begin enrolling sicker individuals into health insurance policies and the federal government rolls out a new web portal designed to help Americans compare and purchase insurance products.

In at least 20 states, uninsured individuals with pre-existing conditions who have been without coverage for six months will be able to enroll in the new pools starting Thursday, but coverage will not begin until sometime in August. Under the new regulations, high-risk insurance pools will not be able to impose preexisting condition exclusions, will have to keep their premiums at “standard rates” (or no higher than the average person of that age would pay for insurance in the private market), limit on out-of-pocket medical costs to $5,950 a year for an individual, and maintain an actuarial value of at least 65%. Issuers will also be prohibited from varying premiums on the basis of age by a factor greater than 4 to 1.

According to Politico’s The Pulse, NASCHIP, a trade organization of high risk pools, is negotiating between the states and the federal government, pressing HHS for a “fair contract in terms of protecting states so that when they enter into this agreement, they’re not exposing themselves in terms of financial or legal liabilities,” and clarifying that states do not have “a financial commitment to run the pool if HHS funds run out.”

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"drown the gubmint in a bathtub" poison pill in the legislation. At least, it might work out that way?

by it serving to create potential inducement for early retirements, and your counterpoint about how it feeds into the cycle of employment dynamic that rolls tax-base off the high-end of the pay scale.  But I'm not sure how the numbers would be shifted under alternatives (?) and change the picture.

I heard a piece on Alternative Radio today, a very interesting interview with Noam Chomsky from April that got into the new American Imperialism with the relevant part of the discussion being his outline of how the similar demographics of US and Canadian populations ended up with such different health care remedies.  

He described how, here, the Unions went for a compact with the corporations to get their OWN health care benefits while, in Canada, they were subscribed to the larger agenda of a national health care plan that bought everyone a solution to the problem.  

Here, the corporations have since wrecked the Unions and reduced their direct expenditure that way while putting off into the future, still, addressing health care needs of everyone.  

Meanwhile,  in Canada, the people are still enjoying the longterm benefits of a national health care plan.  

The entire interview was hugely worthwhile.  I wish we could clone Chomsky and multiply his voice into the national media by a thousand fold.

for president. But he'd still be kicking against the same failed Congress critters.