Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Municipal Health Insurance Reform Advances in Both Senate & House Budgets

Chamber working to secure municipal health reform in final FY 2012 budget

As a member of the Mass Reform First coalition, the Chamber is working with other business and civic groups for municipal health insurance reform. Health care costs are creating havoc with municipal budgets – increasing pressure to raise property taxes and cut vital services such as education and public safety. The situation is exacerbated by major cuts in local aid for the fourth consecutive year. Significant municipal health insurance reform is needed.

The Senate recently included municipal health reform in its proposed budget. It includes a new expedited process for municipalities to transfer coverage to the Group Insurance Commission (GIC) or design plans with features that are no greater than the median co-pays and deductibles in the GIC. Last month, the House included a proposal in its budget. It gives municipalities plan design authority, enabling them to change health plan features such as co-pays and deductibles without having to go through the collective bargaining process. Both the House and Senate proposals ensure that cities and towns across the Commonwealth will achieve valuable and essential savings.

It is the Chamber’s hope that the best elements of the Senate and House plans are incorporated into the final budget and signed into law by the Governor. Meaningful reform will preserve local services, protect municipal jobs and save taxpayers money while maintaining municipal health benefits that are at least equal with state employee health benefits. The Chamber will continue to advocate for municipal health insurance reform during the budget process.

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