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Doesn’t look like it

Wednesday, Dec 9, 2015

* The Illinois Policy Institute’s Scott Reeder

And while Quinn was governor, the state entered into a contract with SEIU to contribute money for each hour worked by home care workers represented by the union toward health insurance.

The state is paying $1.11 an hour.

But here is the rub: Fewer than one-fifth of the home care workers actually accepted the insurance offered by the health care fund administered by SEIU.

So instead of the state just contributing toward the 5,000 employees accepting the insurance, taxpayers are paying for those employees and an extra 20,000 workers who said they didn’t want it.

Wouldn’t it be better if workers declining the insurance got a pay raise instead?
Why would Quinn negotiate a contract like that?

At least on the surface, it would appear the contract has the state paying 80 percent more than it should.

Messages were left with SEIU and Quinn, but neither responded.

Wow! Heckuva scoop!

Or not.

* How about we read the contract? This issue is explained on pages 6 and 7.

From SEIU’s spokesman…

There is no ‘surcharge,’ on everyone and certainly nobody is being compelled to pay for benefits that are not provided (which IPI is dishonestly trying to suggest).

The state’s preferred method of accounting is to work that amount into the hourly rate as opposed to paying a lump sum per individual, hence why, by their accounting, it looks like everyone is being charged for health insurance. Again, the rate is based on the cost of up to the capped level of 5,250 workers taking advantage of the SEIU health insurance.

Yep. That 5,250 number is explained on page 7.

The union, by the way, claims it has no record of being contacted about this story.

* Full statement from James Muhammad, SEIU Healthcare Illinois vice president…

“In its latest attack against our workers, the Illinois Policy Institute, the political right hand of Bruce Rauner’s pocketbook which dutifully serves as his policy mouthpiece, is making totally inaccurate assertions about health insurance benefits for home healthcare providers.

“The IPI is making the outrageous claim that the state is contributing funds towards unwanted and unclaimed benefits. This is simply inaccurate. The state ONLY contributes funding sufficient to provide health insurance for a portion of the workforce that works full-time, or close to full-time, and has set a maximum number of workers that it will fund to cap spending. And what the state DOES contribute to our health fund is efficient and cost-effective by any measure. What a coincidence that IPI has decided to attack benefits that Rauner wants to deny at the bargaining table, and for which a St. Clair County judge recently ordered him to restore funding. (The Rauner attack group also incorrectly asserted that the administrator of the fund isn’t a full-time worker.)

“We have countless and moving stories of low-wage workers, for whom the health fund has been a life-saver. But we don’t think this, or facts, matter to the IPI, which is pursuing a coordinated political agenda with Rauner and his billionaire friends to harm workers, strip them of their voice and ensure that employers can lower wages, benefits and protections throughout Illinois.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

34 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 1:21 pm:

    Which is more ridiculous;

    * Not reading the actual contract.

    * Not asking for comment SEIU, but “implying” an attempt.


  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 1:22 pm:

    IPI is self-parody.


  3. - Joe M - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 1:28 pm:

    But the article linked to says “Scott Reeder is a veteran statehouse reporter and a journalist”


  4. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 1:28 pm:

    “Not asking for comment SEIU, but “implying” an attempt.” Just like election night.


  5. - Liberty - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 1:29 pm:

    Typical Reeder.


  6. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 1:29 pm:

    Maybe someone at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has a voice mail that makes no sense to them?


  7. - Former State Employee - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 1:33 pm:

    L**r l**r pants on fire.


  8. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 1:34 pm:

    The IPI is just lazy sometimes in their reporting and they don’t appear to care most of the time whether what they are saying is dishonest or not. Which is why it’s baffling to me that any reputable news organization would use any “news” from the IPI.


  9. - Bemused - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 1:34 pm:

    IPI and others exist only to move the needle to the right while saying they are non-partisan and simply a media outlet.

    Anymore I pretty much dismiss what they put out. Too often it is slanted BS.


  10. - Steelerfan - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 1:41 pm:

    some people are saying that Mr. Reeder is ready to issue a retraction and an apology, but he has to check with Bruce first.


  11. - History Prof - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 1:41 pm:

    But give lies and innuendo a big enough megaphone and shazam . . . We are in uncharted waters here and there is an ocean of money out there.


  12. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 1:50 pm:

    IPI is so sure that government is full of corruption, waste and fraud - they find it even when it doesn’t exist.

    Someone tip them off about how crop circles are caused by lazy state employees who have gotten their jobs through Democratic nepotism.


  13. - Jessica - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 1:51 pm:

    *Lightbulb!* We have taken up a sort of friendship/mentorship relationship w a lower-income woman and her kids and grand kids, many of whom the grandma takes care of during the day. We help her w her tax return last year and there was a form for a $5k benefit from SEIU and she didn’t know where it came from. It caused her to owe for the first time instead of getting a refund. Now I know what it is and I guess she should have either opted out or been aware that she had insurance. What a strange system. It sure didn’t work out to her benefit, but I’m sure she’s equally at fault for not thoroughly reading whatever paperwork she must have been sent at some point….


  14. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 1:52 pm:

    Demoralized - hold on. Let’s separate the INN’s reporters - notably Mark Fitton - from Scott Reeder’s columns. Mark’s articles are balanced. Scott’s a columnist. Big difference.

    And perhaps Scott did call and ask. And maybe he didn’t get a reply or was told where he could stick his questions. Are we going to demand that he turn over his notes and voicemails?!


  15. - Reality Check - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 1:53 pm:

    This piece is a veritable clinic on journalistic weasel words. Charlie Wheeler should use it as a PAR primer on what NOT to do: “at least on the surface it would appear [false conclusion]”, “some might call that [supposition that conveniently agrees with the author’s bias]”, “It’s hard to say but [exaggerated claim]” etc.


  16. - nixit71 - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 1:55 pm:

    Reeder also under-estimated the amount of money SEIU contributed to Quinn since 2010. While the direct funding was indeed $6.7M, that does not include the pass-through contributions from SEIU to groups such as the Democratic Party of Illinois and Democratic Governors Association, both of which heavily backed Quinn as well. So SEIU contributions are much greater than that.


  17. - illini - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 1:57 pm:

    Willy, Wordslinger and VanillaMan - Excellent posts - will not even try to expand. Although I could make a feeble and weak attempt, I will let your comments stand on their own. Well stated.


  18. - DuPage - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 2:05 pm:

    @Jessica 1:51 Please call them and check on that, I have always been told employer health insurance is not taxable.


  19. - Century Club - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 2:06 pm:

    It is common practice for employer and union to break down insurance or other benefit contributions into an hourly calculation. Imagine if the contract required a flat contribution per month and then the labor force dropped significantly (ie, the state dramatically tightened eligibility requirements and the need for home care workers plummeted). Then the state is on the hook for a contribution for a much larger workforce. An hourly calculation ensures that an employers contribution matches the workforce it currently has.


  20. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 2:09 pm:

    ==Scott’s a columnist. Big difference.==

    This isn’t an opinion column.

    ==And perhaps Scott did call and ask. And maybe he didn’t get a reply or was told where he could stick his questions. Are we going to demand that he turn over his notes and voicemails?!==

    Oh please. Defending this is just sad.


  21. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 2:11 pm:

    ==INN’s reporters==

    I also don’t consider the INN a “news” organization unless you consider “news” from an interest group actual “news.”


  22. - ottawa otter - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 2:11 pm:

    Demoralized allow me to an attempt unbafflement. When IPI, or its surrogate Illinois News Network runs something on the CNN website it is listed under “promoted”,meaning someone paid to have it published. Does that give you an inkling why news organizations run this stuff? And Team Sleep, Reeder laughably calls himself executive editor of his team 4 propagandists at INN. It was denied press credentials as a lobbying organization. Rich ran that info some time ago.


  23. - Lester Holt's Mustache - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 2:12 pm:

    ==And perhaps Scott did call and ask. And maybe he didn’t get a reply or was told where he could stick his questions. Are we going to demand that he turn over his notes and voicemails?!==

    C’mon sleep, you’re smarter than that. Given Reeder’s long history of shoddy reporting, half-truths, creating narratives to fit preconceived notions, and often times outright lies : Yes, I do demand to see his notes and voicemails, along with any text messages or emails that may be pertinent. If you want to buy his horse-pucky at face value, after years of giving you no reason to do so, go right ahead.


  24. - Jessica - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 2:12 pm:

    DuPage, maybe this changed under AHA? It was the first year she had gotten that tax form. In which I accidentally might have just insulted Obama and somewhat been a little supportive of IPI. Quite of reversal of my usual politics on most things.


  25. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 2:30 pm:

    Demoralized - he is a columnist. Do you ever actually READ anything he writes or do you just gloss over it?! He puts his two cents into every article he writes. Check out his column about his time spent with Senators McCarter and Sullivan and then tell me that his columns aren’t opinion-based.

    Mustache - then we need to do the same for every other columnist. I’m not saying I agree with everything he wrote, but I’m also not going to just assume he didn’t make any efforts.

    OO - yes, I remember Rich’s reporting on that quite well. I also don’t believe that Mark Fitton is a shill or a propagandist, and his articles are among the best-written I read on a regular basis.


  26. - Beaner - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 2:41 pm:

    “reputable news organization”…be sure to let me know if one is ever identified.


  27. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 2:49 pm:

    Sorry - every column he writes. My apologies for the oversight.


  28. - Chicago 20 - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 2:53 pm:

    What is far worse is that the Sun Times printed this and now many people believe that it is true and have formed opinions based on these lies.

    The Sun Times has a fiduciary responsibility to its readers to provide factual information in their paper.

    Lately reporters will quote someone as the source of unverified information, which is then requoted again and again until it becomes the truth, even though the quote has no factual basis.

    There must be a higher standard.


  29. - Mama - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 3:22 pm:

    IPI has never cared about the facts in the past. Why start now?


  30. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 4:25 pm:

    ==Do you ever actually READ anything he writes or do you just gloss over it?! ==

    First of all, go fly a kite.

    Second, he is talking about numbers in this article. If he’s going to have an opinion about those numbers (which he does) then he should probably make sure those numbers are factual.

    ==but I’m also not going to just assume he didn’t make any efforts==

    Apparently his “every effort” stunk. Why are you defending this nonsense? He made a mistake. Acknowledge it an move on.


  31. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 4:30 pm:

    i forgot to nominate Reeder for the golden flak award. Where would Trover be without him?


  32. - Springfieldish - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 5:57 pm:

    Being about as relevant as the Green Party, the question of why we even talk about Scott what’shisname and the IPI begs an answer. Any post about them just enables their shrill bleating. Enough! Relegate the IPI and Reeder to the closet in the basement filled with the rest of the “Good-Lord-I-Wish-I’d-Never-Called-On-That-Guys” in our lives.


  33. - Courser - Wednesday, Dec 9, 15 @ 9:37 pm:

    Scott Reader is proof positive that yellow journalism is alive and well.


  34. - Anon221 - Thursday, Dec 10, 15 @ 8:33 am:

    Jessica- Maybe this will help answer some of the questions about taxable benefits. But still, contact a tax professional, and if she filed incorrectly, then she can file an amended return to correct the situation.

    https://www.irs.gov/uac/Employer-Provided-Health-Coverage-Informational-Reporting-Requirements:-Questions-and-Answers


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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