Friday, March 30, 2007

Stay out of the pool

The Education Minnesota teachers union, over multiple legislative sessions, has been lobbying in favor of creating a mandatory statewide health insurance pool for all public school district employees. The legislative action committees (LAC) of west metro school districts such as Wayzata, Minnetonka, and Hopkins all oppose this bill, as does the Association of Metropolitan School Districts. The Hopkins Schools LAC sums it up well:
Please contact your legislators and the governor as soon as possible to express your feelings on the mandatory statewide health insurance pool bills that are being considered by both the Minnesota House and Senate finance committees at the present time. (House File 464, chief author Rep. Sertich and Senate File 276, chief author Sen. Betzold).

Hopkins Public Schools has worked hard with its employee groups to control health insurance costs and has achieved a remarkably low average of 4.5 percent in health insurance cost increases over the last three years (two 0 percent increases, one 14 percent increase).

The mandatory bills now before the House and Senate would most likely increase health care costs in our district. This would decrease the dollars available for students. Furthermore, the legislation is written so generally that it is impossible to develop an accurate projection of costs to support the measure.

In its current version, this bill does not have an opt-out provision for districts (an opt-out amendment failed on the Senate floor) such as those in the west metro, which stand to lose big bucks if the bill is passed into law. Education Minnesota strongly opposes an opt-out provision, saying that it would defeat the purpose of the pool.

In 2006, Education Minnesota was the number one lobbying group at the Legislature by expenditures, spending about $1,520,000 in 2006 to represent 70,000 members, or about one percent of the state's population.

School districts rely on grassroots lobbying by parents, and by lobbyists (paid by the school districts — ultimately, taxpayers) such as the Association of Metropolitan School Districts.

As of this writing, the House companion bill is still in committee.

1 comment:

Leo Pusateri said...

Much like a micro-version of one-size fits all Hillarycare.

Not for me.