Please call you state senator this afternoon and urge him/her to support the Pacheco/Barrios amendments to S2266 to protect current mandated health insurance benefits. Also, urge support of the Morrissey amendment that protects health care collective bargaining rights.
Call the state house 617-722-2000 and ask to be connected to your senator or his/her staff.
The Senate released its re-drafted bill on health care reform on Tuesday afternoon. The major purpose of the bill is to provide health insurance coverage for people who are not currently covered by health insurance. Many of the provisions of the bill are the same as those in S2042 that was filed this past spring. However, Section 7 that would have allowed cities and towns to unilaterally set premium rates without collective bargaining was not included in the bill. It does have parts that pertain to the municipal and state workers.
Medical Condition Mandates
The new Senate bill (S2266) includes a provision similar to the earlier filed bill (S2042) that allows insurance companies to sell policies to the private and public sector that do not provide coverage for medical conditions that the state law currently mandates be covered, such as cardiac rehabilitation, in vitro fertilization and hospice care, etc. Our view is the removal of mandates should not apply to the public sector employees and accordingly we are supporting amendments filed by Sens. Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton) and Jarrett Barrios (D-Cambridge) that will leave the mandate in place for public employees.
Collective Bargaining Clarification
Another section of the bill, in part, expands health care coverage to municipal employees who do not have health insurance. It requires the municipal employer to offer a health care policy to all employees, including those not currently eligible, i.e., certain part time employees. If the employee does not choose to participate in the employer offered policy and has no other insurance coverage, health care costs that are incurred in the uncompensated care pool would be paid for by the employee.
This section could be interpreted to intrude on certain collective bargaining rights. To insure that collective bargaining rights are protected, we are supporting an amendment filed by Senator Michael Morrissey (D-Quincy).