Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Six-word Illinois Supreme Court Ruling Entitles Public Sector Retirees Only Bare-Bones Coverage #Pension Crisis

The hammer dropped on Thanksgiving eve on more than 20,000 employees and retirees with the ruling the Illinois Supreme Court that saves Chicago taxpayers $130 million a year. The ruling states that city pension funds obligations for retiree health care, a mandate from the permanent benefits ruling of 2014, must be 'constrained' by 1983 and 1985 amendments to the state's pension code. These constraints, a key provision of the new ruling, guarantees subsidies of $55-a-month for police and fire retirees not eligible for Medicare, and $21 for those eligible. The guaranteed monthly subsidy amounts to just $25 for all other retirees of the fund. Oops!

One needs not be a genius to realize that a $25 a month healthcare benefit within a backdrop of sharply rising healthcare cost afforded by the monopoly powers of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 won't cut it for Chicagoan public sector retirees. In other words, they're screwed, which is the main reason why this ruling was released on Thanksgiving eve, a day in which the majority of Illinois taxpayers were distracted by travel and family.

Headline: Illinois Supreme Court’s health care ruling will cost city retirees

More than 20,000 city employees and retirees have been dealt a crushing blow that could cost them dearly, but end up saving Chicago taxpayers $130 million a year.

In a six-word ruling on Thanksgiving eve, the Illinois Supreme Court refused to hear the retirees’ appeal of a state Appellate Court ruling that essentially upheld Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s now-completed, three-year phase-out of retiree health care coverage and a 55 percent city subsidy for anyone who did not retire by Aug. 23, 1989.

Clint Krislov, an attorney representing the retirees, said the decision means those retirees are entitled only to bare-bones protections outlined by lower courts.

“For the city, this is a huge benefit. The amount they’re paying is dropped from $137 million a year to between $7 million and $8 million,” Krislov said Monday.



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