HOUSE OVERWHELMINGLY ADOPTS MUNICIPAL HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN DESIGN REFORM
113-42 Vote Embraces Key Municipal Priority Advanced by Speaker DeLeo and Chairman Dempsey Cities and Towns Would Have Ability to Make Plan Design Changes or Join GIC
April 27, 2011
At 11:03 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26, the members of the House of Representatives, by an overwhelming vote of 113-42, adopted a strong municipal health insurance reform plan advanced by the Speaker and the House Ways and Means Committee. The MMA applauds the extraordinary leadership of Speaker DeLeo, Ways and Means Chairman Dempsey, Ways and Means Vice Chairs Kulik and Walz, Public Service Committee Chair Scibak, and all House members who voted to add the reform amendment to the fiscal 2012 state budget. The reform package includes the following provisions:
- Adds a new Section 19A to Chapter 32B, which, if adopted by the Board of Selectmen in a town, the Mayor or City Manager and Council in a city, or by the school committee in a regional school district, allows the community or district to increase its co-pays, deductibles and other plan design features up to the level included in the most subscribed plan offered by the Group Insurance Commission, or to transfer its subscribers into the GIC if the community would save more through that option;
- Requires the appropriate public authority (generally the municipal executive) to convene a meeting of a special committee comprised of a representative of each collective bargaining unit and a retiree representative, and submit the proposal to that “public employee committee” regarding the plan design changes or transfer to the GIC, and conduct a 30-day discussion period to discuss the details of the proposal and negotiate how to allocate 10 percent of one year’s estimated cost savings, provided that the allocation of the savings shall only be used for health related programs (such as an HRA or other related items) for active employees and retirees;
- If the 30-day discussion results in an agreement with the committee, the community shall implement the changes and the 10 percent savings shall be allocated as agreed;
- If the 30-day discussion does not result in an agreement with the committee, the community may implement the plan design changes or transfer as originally proposed, however the community shall set aside 20 percent of one year’s estimated savings for an HRA to offset costs for high utilizers and retirees (this provides an incentive to municipalities to reach an agreement with the committee, and is the House’s preferred alternative to binding arbitration, which is not in the amendment); and
- The amendment makes it clear that the decision to implement plan design changes or enroll in the GIC is not subject to collective bargaining — the employee/employer contribution percentage is still subject to collective bargaining, as is any change in co-pays or deductibles that would exceed those in the GIC’s most subscribed plan.
The MMA will be analyzing the final language adopted by the House, and will provide further information as more becomes available. In the meantime,please contact your Representatives today to thank them for their vote in support of reform (please see the list of “yes” votes below).
This is one major step on the road to reform. Action will now turn to the Senate, which has passed labor-favored language on this issue for the past two years. This will be a major challenge, so please contact your Senators today as well to ask them to follow suit and support real and meaningful relief for cities and towns.
Thank you for your tireless advocacy — you have made the difference in this effort!
Representatives Voting Yes on Chairman Dempsey’s Amendment (roll call 51), listed in order of appearance on the roll call machine: DeLeo, Mariano, Haddad, C. Murphy, Aguiar, Arciero, Ashe, Atkins, Atsalis, Balser, Basile, Benson, Binienda, Bradley, Brownsberger, Cabral, Campbell, Canessa, Cariddi, Coakley-Rivera, Conroy, Costello, Curran, Dempsey, DiNatale, Donato, Dykema, Fernandes, Ferrante, Finn, Forry, Fox, Galvin, Garballey, Gobi, Hecht, Henriquez, Hogan, Holmes, Honan, Kafka, Kane, Kaufman, Keenan, Khan, Kocot, Koczera, Kulik, Lewis, Linsky, Madden, Malia, Markey, McMurtry, Michlewitz, Moran, J. Murphy, Nangle, Naughton, O’Flaherty, Peake, Pedone, Peisch, Pignatelli, Puppolo, Rogers, Rosa, Rushing, Sanchez, Sannicandro, Scaccia, Schmid, Scibak, Smith, Speliotis, H. Stanley, Story, Swan, Torrisi, Vallee, Wagner, C. Walsh, Walz, Jones, Peterson, Poirier, Adams, Barrows, Bastien, Beaton, Boldyga, deMacedo, D’Emilia, Diehl, Fattman, Ferguson, Frost, Gifford, Harrington, Howitt, Humason, Hunt, Kuros, Levy, Lombardo, Lyons, O’Connell, Ross, Smola, Vieira, Webster, and Wong.