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In State House testimony, MTA calls on state to contain health care costs

Testimony of Paul Toner
President, Massachusetts Teachers Association
Submitted to the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing
May 17, 2011

RE:  An Act Improving the Quality of Health Care and Controlling Costs by Reforming Health Systems and Payments (H 1849)

Chairman Moore, Chairman Walsh, and members of the Committee:

On behalf of our 107,000 members, MTA commends the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing for beginning a concrete discussion on how to slow the rising cost of health care by holding a hearing on H 1849 - An Act Improving the Quality of Health Care and Controlling Costs by Reforming Health Systems and Payments.

The rising cost of health care has had a huge impact on families throughout the Commonwealth. We also commend the Governor for his willingness to address this issue in a timely manner.

Unchecked increases in health insurance over the past ten years have caused many MTA members - both state and municipal - to see their health insurance costs increase well beyond any pay raise they have received. During this time period, premiums have increased nationwide on average 130 percent.  Now it's time to address this issue.

MTA is well aware of the increasing burden these costs have placed on our communities particularly during this fiscal crisis when local aid has been cut. That is why MTA and other municipal unions have proposed a plan that will save communities over $100 million in health insurance costs. These savings come as a result of shifting the costs of health care to the employee. This is not a solution to rising health care costs, but rather a stopgap measure, not cost reduction. We must do both. The MTA is on record supporting the implementation of a single payer model of reform. Regardless of the model used, we need to rein in costs while maintaining access to, and quality of, health insurance.

In order to provide services and investments such as public education that make the state a desirable place to grow businesses, to live and to raise a family, the Commonwealth must contain health care costs. MTA is committed to working with the Legislature and the Governor to maintain the quality of health care and at the same time examine effective and efficient ways to rein in the spiraling health care costs.

See Also:

AP: Lawmakers hear bill to rein in Mass. health costs

 


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