Legislature Skips Plan Design

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The Legislature is rolling out a “Municipal Relief Act” today, shepherded by Committee Chairs Representative Paul Donato and Senator Jamie Eldridge.

Unless I’ve missed some grand strategic plan to insert plan design on the floor, this Act is an embarrassment.

Everyone agrees that healthcare costs are killing local governments. By my estimation, its gone from roughly 6% of local budgets to over 12% over the last ten years — no other municipal department is growing like that.

One potential avenue to controlling healthcare costs is joining the state employee’s insurance pool, the GIC, but many municipalities either object to that or don’t think it will save money. The next option then is to give municipal managers greater control over health insurance plan design.

This is sensitive because changes to plan design outside the collective bargaining process anger public sector unions.

But its the only realistic option left on the table for the most material source of cost escalation at the local level.

And the Legislature’s Municipal Relief Act is not interested in addressing it. Ridiculous and Unserious.