City’s inspector general questions value of Emanuel’s wellness program

By Fran Spielman – Chicago Sun-Times
The city’s workforce declined by 19 percent — to 33,354 full-time equivalent employees in the decade ending in December 2013. Despite that drop, health care costs rose by 43 percent during the same period.
Emanuel noted that roughly six percent of the city’s workforce drives 60 percent of health care costs around the chronic, but controllable illnesses, such as obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, diabetes and smoking.
Chicago taxpayers spend $500 million a year to provide health care for city employees, nearly 10 percent of the city’s annual budget.
Ferguson’s advisory is particularly timely given the fact that Emanuel directed his budget director to meet with the inspector general last week to get his ideas on ways to raise revenue and cut costs.
Chicago desperately needs every dollar it can get to erase a $754 million shortfall and solve a combined $30 billion pension crisis at the city and public schools that has dropped both the city’s and the Chicago Public School system’s bond rating to junk status.  read more….