The Massachusetts Taxpayer Foundation just released an analysis showing just much damage the enhanced retiree benefits in the Senate Budget's version of municipal health reform could do. The MTF identified 50 communities that would be affected, but say that with more analysis, probably as many as 100 towns and cities will face increased retiree healthcare costs with this measure. Some communities the MTF studied would be stuck with hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs.

This is all the more reason to call the members of the Conference Committee now and urge them not to pass this measure!

Download the report here.
 
 
We are nearing the finish line for Municipal Health Care reform that will save taxpayers $100 million a year. But we need your help now.

Currently a Conference Committee is molding the two budgets--the House version and the Senate version--into one final budget, which will go to Governor Patrick in July, who will veto parts he chooses and eventually sign it.

We need calls and emails to these Conference Committee members to urge them to craft a policy with real savings.

There are significant differences between the House and Senate budgets in terms of potential for savings (see our chart - scroll to bottom).

Most significantly, the Senate Budget includes a series of amendments that will seriously hurt our chances at reform.

One provision mandates that towns equalize the contribution ratios of active employees and retirees (Amendment 65, Section 22e). This could put a huge burden back on municipalities as retirees' health care costs grow (read a recent opinion piece in the Globe). The MMA says this measure "could be prohibitively expensive," and is lobbying lawmakers not to include it. And this isn't the only measure that could hinder reform; the Senate budget included several last-minute changes and complications. Read the MMA's extensive letter to the conference committee against these measures here, or their action alert here.

Here is who to call/email, and below is what to say (calls to those in RED are higher priority)

Senate President Therese Murray: 617-722-1500, therese.murray@masenate.gov
Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill): 617-722-2990, Brian.Dempsey@massmail.state.ma.us
Steven Kulik (D- Worthington): 617-722-2380, stephen.kulik@mahouse.gov
Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth):  617-722-2100, vinny@demacedo.org
Stephen Brewer (D-Barre): 617-722-1540, stephen.brewer@masenate.gov
Steven Baddour (D-Methuen): 617-722-1604, steven.baddour@masenate.gov
Michael Knapik (R-Westfield): 617-722-1415, michael.knapik@masenate.gov

  • Give cities and towns the same plan design authority the state has to determine health care plans for their employees without a negotiating window, and without a review board.
  • Make reform mandatory. Local option means many cities & towns won't get reform & their taxpayers will continue to overpay.
  • Don't pass the provision to equalize premium contribution ratios between retirees and active employees. It will only drive up spending for municipalities that desperately need relief.
  • Reject extra measures that will delay and complicate reform. The stakes are too high.
  • Voters are paying attention, and will hold their legislators accountable on this issue.