The announcement that Spectrum, a Connecticut nursing home chain, has filed for bankruptcy should concern Connecticut seniors and their families. Medicare and Medicaid coverage has become, at best, stagnant. This results in tremendous financial pressure on both seniors and the facilities providing for their care.
The company entering bankruptcy, Spectrum, is a victim of an overzealous union bolstered by Connecticut elected officials who put over-the-top union demands ahead of Connecticut seniors. When Spectrum attempted to negotiate on costs the union began a 13-month long strike, to which Spectrum eventually succumbed.
The situation in Connecticut is untenable. And it is unconscionable. More than 15 nursing homes have either declared bankruptcy or closed, or both, in the last five years. Each and every one had a contract with the New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199 SEIU.
The personal finance website, MoneyRates.com, annually ranks the best and worst states for retirement. In 2010, it gave Connecticut a ranking of 8th best state in which to retire. By the next year, Connecticut’s rating had plunged to 47th. MoneyRates.com said Connecticut’s rating was due to “poor economic performance” stemming from a “deadly combination of high taxes and high cost of living.”
Collective bargaining is about giving and taking – by both sides. That is made impossible in the state of Connecticut when you know that the collective bargaining isn’t just between an employer and the union. In Connecticut, lurking in the shadows just slightly away from the bargaining table, are the Governor, the State Attorney General, Members of Congress and other elected officials.
With an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent and the state in more of an economic mess than much of the rest of the U.S., Connecticut is showing the country that it is not only a very risky place in which to do business, it is a risky place to be a senior – and becoming riskier every day.