Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees, Not Even in San Francisco

Posted on February 26, 2010

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Facing a second year of deficits pushing the $500 million mark, the city of San Francisco is being forced to look under the couch cushions, and in the junk drawer, for any type of savings it can find in order to decrease costs.  As it turns out, the city has discovered it can save money by denying health coverage to those deemed no longer eligible under the city’s plan:  

It appears a number of city employees are receiving health benefits for dependents in cases when these dependents are not entitled to them. The most common abuse identified so far is in cases of divorce, when The City continues to pay for the health benefits for the former spouse because the worker never notifies The City about the separation.
Just how many are ineligible but use The City’s benefit system remains unclear. So far, the recent crackdown on dependents wrongfully receiving benefits at taxpayers’ expense represents a savings of $30,000 a month, the result of removing nearly 300 ineligible people from the benefit rolls.
Oh, the hypocrisy. 
This is the same city which is home to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, who is a major proponent for creating a massive new health care reform bill providing health care coverage to an additional 30 million people across the country.   How is it acceptable for Speaker Pelosi to lecture the rest of us on health care reform for everyone while the city she represents is trying to deny it to its own residents?  Why should it matter to city officials if these dependents don’t technically fall under the plan any longer?  Aren’t they the ones touting coverage for all, even those who can’t pay for it on their own?
San Francisco is learning the lesson the rest of us in “flyover country” already know.  Although it would be nice for everyone to have health care coverage, it isn’t free and someone has to pay for it in the end.  Exactly who pays for it is the crux of the matter.
Posted in: California