This space has written previously on the muni health portion of the budget, currently sitting on the Governor’s desk.
I’ve heard from several folks that my assessment of the municipal review panel is too harsh and that their power is highly circumscribed in the budget.
The key clause is this one (Line 786 of Conference Budget):
(d) The municipal health insurance review panel shall approve the appropriate public authority’s immediate implementation of the proposed changes under section 22 or section 23; provided, however, that any increases to plan design features have been made in accordance with the provisions of section 22. If the panel does not approve implementation of changes made pursuant to section 22, the public authority may submit a new proposal to the public employee committee for consideration and confirmation under this section.
From my read of this, the review panel is required to approve proposed changes unless it violates section 22 (which says changes can’t exceed the value of the GIC’s most popular plan). But its not clear who makes the determination of a what violates section 22. And what happens if a panel determines a violation has occurs and sends the plan back to management for rework. Is there any remedy for the municipal manager to contest the finding? I’m concerned that this section gives an opening for mischief and will be used as leverage in the process.
We’ve been working for a number of years now to make municipal health insurance cost control a reality. Let’s be sure we have the right tools in place to finally accomplish the goal on a state-wide basis.