The Legislature passed the new municipal health insurance law on July 11, and the governor signed it the following day.
The MTA is a member of the Public Employees’ Coalition on Municipal Health Insurance, a group that played an active role in shaping the final bill in order to protect core bargaining rights and benefits.
A statement released by the coalition after the House of Representatives and Senate passed the new law appears below:
Thanks to the historic shared sacrifice pledged by a coalition of public employee unions and retirees, Massachusetts cities and towns will save an estimated $100 million in health insurance costs under a plan approved today by the Legislature. Governor Deval Patrick has promised to sign the plan into law.
These savings will be used to save jobs and protect public education, public safety and other vital local services across the Commonwealth.
The agreement comes after the Public Employees’ Coalition on Municipal Health Insurance first announced in March that teachers, firefighters, police officers and other city and town employees, along with public-sector retirees, would be willing to negotiate higher co-payments and deductibles in light of the fiscal crisis, provided that three core principles were addressed:
- Employees and retirees must have a meaningful voice in the process.
- The sickest employees and retirees must be protected from excessive out-of-pocket expenses.
- Retirees and survivors must be protected from sudden increases in health care costs.
The coalition believes the final legislation respects those principles.
Coalition members recognize that public- and private-sector employees, retirees and the recipients of public services have all been hurt by the recession, the fiscal crisis and the skyrocketing cost of health care, and we are willing to do our share to preserve jobs and programs in our communities.
The coalition believes that now that we have eliminated this distraction from the public debate, we must all focus on the real crisis, which is the ever-spiraling cost of health care for all residents of Massachusetts, and the coalition stands ready to work with the Legislature and governor as we move forward to address this critical issue.
Members of the Public Employees’ Coalition on Municipal Health Insurance include:
AFSCME – Council 93
International Union of Painters & Allied Trades District Council 35
Massachusetts Coalition of Police
Massachusetts and Northern New England Laborers Council
Massachusetts Municipal Police Coalition
Massachusetts Police Association
Massachusetts Teachers Association
Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts
Retired State, County and Municipal Employees Association
SEIU – Local 888
United Steel Workers, AFL-CIO/CLC