San Diego’s Budget Deficit

Nearly half of San Diego’s $86 million budget deficit appears to be attributable to a failure to access federal and state dollars.

According to San Diego’s latest Annual Report, in 2019 the city made $39 million in insurance benefit payments on behalf of retired employees who aren’t making use of federal and state insurance premium support under the Affordable Care Act or California Premium Subsidy. According to Covered California, a family of four including a retired San Diego employee with a pension of $70,000 per year would be entitled to $20,000 per year of federal and state premium support. The city is paying out $6,500 in insurance benefits per retired employee or dependent, or $26,000 for four people. Wouldn’t it make more sense for retired employees and their dependents to make use of $20,000 in federal and state subsidies and San Diego to make up the $6,000 balance?

Covered California is a marvel. My family uses it (I did as well, but now I’m on Medicare, which is also a marvel), as do millions of other Californians. So should retired public employees.

David Crane

Lecturer at Stanford University and president of Govern For California

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