It’s hard not to think “fox in the chicken coop” in response to the public workers union proposal that, if the union were to agree to receiving its health insurance coverage through the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC), the union would want half the seats on the GIC board. They already have four of 15 seats. What are they smoking?
All of which explains why the legislature must approve giving cities and towns the power to design their own employee health insurance plans or join the GIC without union approval.
Our local communities are in dire straits. Rising health insurance premiums are eating up their budgets, and more layoffs are inevitable if they can’t regain control over their health benefits.
Leaving veto power over insurance plan design in the hands of the unions makes no sense. Workers in the private sector don’t get that. Their employers decide based on a range of financial considerations. The fact is that local taxpayers can no longer afford to pay for benefits for public workers that they don’t have for themselves. And, if municipalities can’t manage employee insurance costs, both municipal employees and local residents will pay another way, by losing services through resulting layoffs. As Menino said at the hearing, “Pretty soon we’re not going to have City Hall; it’ll be the city insurance company.”
There’s something very wrong with that.
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