Monday, August 30, 2010

Globe Backs Health Care Plan Design

The Boston Globe has come out in support of one of the Senate Republican Caucus’ major reform proposals, agreeing that cities and towns should be given more flexibility to design their health care plans without having to go through the collective bargaining process.

In a Sunday editorial, the Globe called on legislative candidates to endorse municipal health care plan design, as well as a series of pension reforms and a proposal to move Medicare-eligible municipal retirees off their local health plans and onto Medicare. The health care savings alone would save cities and towns $175 million in the first year.

“Almost every candidate claims to favor reform, but many shun the difficult choices,” the Globe noted, adding that savings from the proposed reforms “would go a long way toward keeping cities and towns solvent in the near term.”

All of these money-saving ideas were included in an August 18 “open letter” to legislators and candidates from Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Michael Widmer (above, right), who said, “It is imperative that the Legislature act in 2011 to help municipalities address the unsustainable increases in the costs of health care and pensions that are leading directly to the layoffs of teachers, police, fire and other local employees.”

The so-called municipal relief bill that passed this session “fails to address either of these issues in a meaningful way,” he added.