The controversy around the Affordable Healthcare Act or Obamacare continues to grow. The latest blow is hitting us here in the Central Valley, because Fresno County and Tulare County employees will be paying more for health insurance.
Fresno County Supervisor Debbie Poochigian says she wants people to know how much Obamacare is costing the county.
"We were really disappointed, because we had worked so hard and we were just starting to realize the savings," says Poochigian.
Back in 2009 Fresno County and Tulare County joined forces to form the San Joaquin Valley Insurance Authority. As time went on small cities, such as Reedley, Sanger and Tulare joined in.
"We were saving millions of dollars really between the two counties," adds the Fresno County Supervisor.
However, both counties found out that the rules in Obamacare will increase their insurance costs. The first rule requires the counties to provide more insurance which will cost between $1.75-million and $4.2-million. A second rule has taxes or fees that employees will have to pay. Before Obamacare the cost increase per county employee would have only been about 2%. However, with Obamacare the increase is more like 5%.
"To take this financial hit it just comes right out of the pockets of our employees and our county," says Poochigian.
Taxpayers will pay more, because money that will be spent on health insurance could go towards other departments, such as the Sheriff's Department. If money is needed it will have to come from local taxpayers.
Supervisor Poochigian says she would like the President and Congress to do something to prevent counties from having to pay more because of Obamacare.