As a retired member of General Motors' salaried work force, I am concerned, about the $1,500-per-car penalty GM experiences to pay for our health care.
Lest the public get a spun view of our situation, as has been pointed out, we pay a healthy percentage of our own medical bills. My hope is that the UAW not only will see a good business case for chipping in but also will be sensitive to its fairness.
I am very aware that most of the GM benefits I have had during the past 50 years have been the result of the UAW's negotiations, and I am grateful for the UAW's good work in that area.
However, I think GM may be giving the public a filtered view of health care costs, at least insofar as retirees are concerned.
I don't know what the total premium is for my Blue Cross coverage, but I pay $50 a month (for myself only) toward it.
For that $600 a year, I get no return because Medicare pays the bills for those of us over 65. Medicare has a co-pay, which, magically, is the same as the Blue Cross co-pay. In other words, Blue Cross doesn't pick up the balance; I do.
GM has taken a chunk out of retiree medical benefits in small bites during the past 20 years. Further cuts would put our care behind the norm for employer plans, a further disappointment regarding the promises that were made to us when we retired.
My sense is that GM could and should use the enormous profits of the managed care and insurance companies (e.g., WellPoint, UnitedHealthcare, etc.) as leverage for reducing premium costs before it attempts to balance the books on the backs of the retirees.