All public employees to pay 20 percent of health insurance cost, under bill passed by Senate panel

A Republican-led Senate committee approved legislation Wednesday to require all public employees pay 20 percent of the cost of their health insurance.

The Senate Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing Committee passed Senate Bill 7 on party-line votes, with Republicans voting in favor and Democrats dissenting.

The panel also approved Senate Joint Resolution C, a Constitutional amendment to allow the Legislature to set cost allocation requirements for health benefit plans.

The measures now head to the full Senate. Please contact your state senator immediately -- tell him/her to vote NO on Senate Bill 7 and Senate Joint Resolution C.

Some information to share with your senator:

  • How much employees pay for health insurance should be decided locally during collective bargaining.
  • This cost shift will not solve the massive budget crisis facing schools and the state -- many employees already pay a portion of their health care, including some who pay more than 20 percent of the cost, and many superintendents have testified in Lansing that this proposal will not help their districts deal with severe budget cuts in the 2011-12 school year. (If you currently pay for your health insurance, provide those details to your senator.)
  • The legislation does not treat local units of government fairly. For example, local municipalities could opt out of the requirements with a two-thirds vote of their governing body; this exemption does not apply to public or intermediate school districts, community colleges, or universities.

It is also worth noting that this legislation will affect all public employees, but not lawmakers.