If you like your health care plan, you can’t keep it

Repeatedly in defense of his marquee legislative accomplishment, President Obama claimed that “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”

I can’t read a man’s heart, so I can’t say with confidence whether Mr. Obama was simply lying or, like then-Speaker Pelosi, he actually hadn’t read the bill, but I can say that my family and I recently learned that under ObamaCare, you can’t keep your health care plan no matter how much you like it.

By way of background, I have had a “individual” health savings account through Blue Cross since I started with Rio Grande Foundation in early 2006. Health savings accounts are the most market oriented of health insurance plans because they provide relatively “bare-bones” insurance policies that are supplemented by pre-tax savings accounts designed to pay for day-to-day health care expenses.

Don’t Roll Back Pension Reforms

I'd typically say that the chances of my penning an opinion piece with a representative of the AFSCME government employee labor union would be as likely as my penning an article with the Easter Bunny (Like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, I don't believe in unionizing government workers). Anyway, the pension reforms passed a few years back are worth defending even if they didn't go nearly far enough.

AFSCME and the Rio Grande Foundation usually have very different positions on a wide range of issues including contentious disagreements over New Mexico’s government pension plans.

Even though we sometimes disagree on the scope and role of government, each of our organizations supports preserving the pension reform that was passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority in both houses and signed by the Governor in 2013. Specifically, we oppose rolling back that reform in the name of recruiting and retention or special treatment for select groups of employees, including opposing the reintroduction of double dipping.

Prior to the bipartisan pension reform, the two funds were looking at a combined $12 billion in unfunded liabilities, and were on a trajectory to have over $60 billion in unfunded liabilities in the next three decades. While there is serious disagreement between us over whether the pension reforms went far enough, there is 100% agreement between us that the reforms were a step in the right direction.

Unfortunately, some groups may be trying to cut deals with politicians during election season to give their members special treatment and to worsen the solvency of the funds. There are legitimate recruiting and retention problems across state and local governments, but using the pension funds as a piggy bank to sweeten employee compensation packages is a terribly fiscally irresponsible idea.

Yes, the condition of the funds is improving -- that was the entire point of our bipartisan reform – but we need to let the reforms work before there’s any discussion of undoing even small parts of the difficult and excellent work achieved by leaders in both parties.

Undermining a successful bi-partisan reform for the sake of small political favors during election season would be a disservice to New Mexico's taxpayers and employees alike.

Paul Gessing is president of the Rio Grande Foundation, New Mexico’s free market think tank;
Carter Bundy is legislative director at the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, a union representing primarily government workers in New Mexico.

Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper - Albuquerque Luncheon Event

How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong
Albuquerque Luncheon Presentation

Click here for event registration form!

Join the Rio Grande Foundation at this Albuquerque luncheon event on December 9th featuring Robert Bryce, author of the book Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong.

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The book shows how innovation and the inexorable human desire to make things smaller, faster, lighter, denser and cheaper is providing consumers with cheaper and more abundant energy, faster computing, lighter vehicles, and a myriad of other goods.

Robert Bryce will be speaking on the myriad ways in which improved technology applied to traditional energy sources are making our world a better place at dual events in Albuquerque and Farmington, New Mexico, on Tuesday, December 9, 2014.

Bryce will be speaking at a luncheon in Albuquerque from noon to 1:00pm at the Marriott Pyramid which is located at I-25 and Paseo del Norte.

Albuquerque luncheon seats are available for $40 per person if purchased before December 1. Tickets purchased on December 1 or after are $50. Call 505-264-6090 to ask about sponsorship or availability of tables of eight.

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Robert Bryce has been a professional journalist for nearly three decades. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, National Review, Washington Post, American Conservative, and Counterpunch. His first book, Pipe Dreams: Greed, Ego, and the Death of Enron, received rave reviews and was named one of the best non-fiction books of 2002 by Publishers Weekly.

His second book, Cronies: Oil, the Bushes, and the Rise of Texas, America's Superstate, was published in 2004. His third book, Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of "Energy Independence", published in March 2008, was favorably reviewed by more than 20 media outlets. A review of Gusher by William Grimes of the New York Times said that Bryce "reveals himself in the end as something of a visionary and perhaps even a revolutionary."

In 2010, Bryce published Power Hungry: The Myths of "Green" Energy, and the Real Fuels of the Future. In a review of Power Hungry in the Wall Street Journal, Trevor Butterworth called the book "unsentimental, unsparing, and impassioned; and if you'll excuse the pun, it is precisely the kind of journalism we need to hold truth to power."

Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong was published on May 13, 2014. The book is an optimistic one. It shows how innovation and the inexorable human desire to make things Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper is providing consumers with Cheaper and more abundant energy, Faster computing, Lighter vehicles, and myriad other goods. That same desire is fostering unprecedented prosperity, greater liberty, and yes, better environmental protection.

A review in the New York Times said that Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper is a “book well worth reading.” While the Wall Street Journal called it an “engrossing survey.”

Bryce, who has been writing about the energy business since 1989, spent 12 years writing for the Austin Chronicle. From 2006 to September 2010, he worked as the managing editor of the Houston-based online publication, Energy Tribune. In April 2010, he joined the Manhattan Institute as a senior fellow in the think tank's Center for Energy Policy and the Environment.

Bryce has appeared on dozens of TV and radio shows that have aired on variety of outlets including the BBC, MSNBC, Fox Business, CNN, PBS, and NPR.

An apiarist, he lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, Lorin, and their three children, Mary, Michael, and Jacob.

Click here for event registration form!

Date: 
2014-12-09 12:00 - 13:00

This Saturday on the New Mexico Freedom Hour

The New Mexico Freedom Hour is presented by the Rio Grande Foundation. It next airs on Saturday, October 11, 2014 from 12pm to 1pm on 770 KKOB AM. This week we are very pleased to announce that Albuquerque Mayor RJ Berry will be joining host Paul Gessing for the full hour. The show will be focused on a variety of economic policy issues relevant to Albuquerque residents including the city’s overall economy, the Administration’s proposed bus rapid transit and wi-fi systems, “Innovate ABQ,” and the ongoing fight over “union time.” We’ll also discuss the bigger picture including the struggling state and local economies and what the Legislature and Gov. Martinez can do to help spur economic growth in New Mexico’s largest city. Listeners are encouraged not only to tune in and listen, but to call in with questions: 505-243-3333.

Las Cruces: Rumble by the Rio debate on NM economy between Paul Gessing and Alan Webber

Check out this exciting free debate event taking place in Las Cruces on Tuesday, October, 21. See flier below for details.

Sen. John Arthur-Smith on NM Freedom Hour this week

The New Mexico Freedom Hour is presented by the Rio Grande Foundation. It next airs on Saturday, September 27, 2014 from 12pm to 1pm on 770 KKOB AM. This week, Rob Nikolewski of Capitol Report New Mexico will be sitting in for Paul Gessing:

Nikolewski’s guest will be New Mexico Sen. John Arthur-Smith, D-Deming. Smith is chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.

The show will be focused on New Mexico’s struggling economy and what the New Mexico Legislature can/will do about it.

Listeners are encouraged not only to tune in and listen, but to call in with questions: 505-243-3333.

Liberty on the Rocks - Albuquerque

Join the Rio Grande Foundation For an Evening of
Discussion and Fellowship at Liberty on the Rocks!

"Liberty on the Rocks" is a no-host happy hour discussion and information-sharing session.

Liberty on the Rocks will be held at Scalo Northern Italian Grill which is located in Nob Hill at 3500 Central Avenue SE in Albuquerque. A private room has been reserved for this event. In October, Liberty on the Rocks will take place on Thursday, October 16th from 6:00 to 7:30PM.

There is no cost for this public event, but attendees are encouraged to have dinner or drinks. Registration is not required but is much appreciated. Click here to register online ... it's fast and it's free!

Come celebrate liberty with us!

Date: 
2014-10-16 18:00 - 19:30
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