Maryland on the Dole

More than 100 Maryland government entities, labor unions and private organizations have applied for funds from a $5 billion federal bailout program hidden in the federal health care reform legislation. The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, administered by the Center for Consumer Information and Oversight, has approved funding for 45 labor unions, 43 government bodies, and 22 corporations and private non-profit organizations.

ERRP subsidizes the retirement plans for unions, corporations, private non-profits, and state and local governments. According to a Department of Health and Human Services report, ERRP, “assists both early retirees, and any active workers covered under the same plan, by reimbursing participating plan sponsors that offer such benefits for a portion of the costs of providing health coverage to retirees age 55 to 64 and their families.”

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Former Maryland Public Service Commissioner Steve Larsen, an appointee of Governor Martin O’Malley is the director of CCIO.

The DHHS report shows that ERRP has disbursed over $9.1 million to Maryland. Yet the report does not reflect all the disbursements to approved Maryland applicants.

Federal bailout dollars from the stimulus inflated state failed to achieve their ostensible goal—stabilizing state and county governments. In fact they only inflated budget base lines and their deficits ballooned. ERRP accomplishes the same thing. Maryland and its counties, struggling to close their deficits, did themselves no favors by taking this bailout cash.

No matter the final tally though, one thing is for sure, Maryland is on the dole.

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