It is not hypocritical– no, not at all– to refuse an invitation and then partake of the feast. It’s simply good manners to protest that “no, no , one really couldn’t, shouldn’t, mustn’t” and then, when pressed, graciously assent.

I’m sure that explains Georgian’s response to the Early Retiree Reinsurance program set up by the Department of Health and Human Services. Simply good manners. How silly of us to conclude there’s a Party of No.

Rising health care costs have made it difficult for employers to provide quality, affordable health insurance for workers and retirees while also remaining competitive in the global marketplace. The percentage of large firms providing workers with retiree health coverage has dropped from 66 percent in 1988 to 29 percent in 2009.

This information comes from the Georgia page of the HHS release, but the same information can be found for each state by simply changing the abbreviation in the URL.

The Affordable Care Act creates a new program called the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program to help address this challenge that employers and older employees are facing. The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program provides $5 billion in financial assistance to employers and unions to help them maintain coverage for early retirees age 55 and older who are not yet eligible for Medicare….

HHS has approved the following sponsors from Georgia. More applications are being approved each day.

* 1st Franklin Financial Corporation
* Alcatel-Lucent USA Inc.
* Athens Regional Health Services, Inc.
* Atlanta Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 72
* Board of Trustees Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union No. 43
* Central Georgia Health System, Inc.
* ChoicePoint Inc.
* Cobb County Government – Board of Commissioners
* Cobb Energy Management Corporation
* Cox Enterprises, Inc.
* Delta Air Lines, Inc.
* Doosan Health and Welfare Plan
* Emory University
* Fulton County Government
* Genuine Parts Company
* Georgia Municipal Employees Benefit System (GMEBS)
* Georgia-Pacific, LLC
* IBEW Local 613 & Contributing Employers Family Health Plan
* Mohawk Carpet Corporation
* Neenah Paper, Inc.
* Sheet Metal Workers Welfare Fund #85
* Southern Company Services, Inc
* The Coca-Cola Company
* Thiele Kaolin Company
* Travelport LP
* UFCW Union Local 1995 & Employers Health and Welfare Fund
* United Parcel Service of America, Inc.

While I am sure that all these fine organizations have expressed undying gratitude for the beneficence flowing from Washington and appreciate the increased peace of mind they enjoy, if you have any connections to these folk, you might want to exchange a few congratulatory words with them. I wouldn’t bother with a reference to the Prodigal Son, though.



Monica Smith

Monica Smith writes Hannah's Blog. Born in Germany, she came to the United States as a child, living first in California, then after an interval in Chile, in New York. Married to a retired professor at the University of Florida, where she lived for 17 years, she moved to St. Simons Island, Georgia, in 1993 and now divides her time between Georgia and New Hampshire. (New Hampshire, she says, is always interesting during a presidential election.) She and her husband have three children and five grandchildren. Ms. Smith says she "learned long ago that I am not a good team player when I got hired at the Library of Congress, fresh out of college with a degree in political science and proficiency in four foreign languages, to 'edit' library cards and informed my supervisor that if she was going to insist I punch the clock exactly on time, my productivity was going to fall from being the highest to being the same as everyone else's. The supervisor opted to assign me to another building where there was no time-clock. After I had the first of our three children, I decided a paycheck wasn't worth the hassle."