The letter below appears in today’s edition of the Lowell Sun:
Legislature needs to give municipalities authority to rein in health insurance costs
Your recent editorial on municipal health insurance costs (“Handcuffed by health costs,” March 1) hit the nail right on the head. Skyrocketing health insurance costs are strangling municipal budgets across the state. Cities and towns currently don’t have the authority to effectively rein in these costs — we need our elected representatives on Beacon Hill to grant us that authority.
Here in Chelmsford, more than 10 percent of our $100 million operating budget now goes to health insurance for town employees. At its current rate of increase, our health insurance spending will double in just a few years. The budgetary impact of this trend is obvious: ever more spending on insurance means ever less spending on essential services such as public safety, education and public works. We’ve made several attempts to arrive at an agreement with unions to bring these costs under control. These attempts have been unsuccessful. Many other communities across the state are facing the same frustrating impasse.
Fortunately, there is a straightforward, common-sense solution staring us all in the face: the Legislature should step up, put special-interest politics aside, and grant cities and towns the authority to make unilateral changes to municipal health insurance plans — the same authority that is exercised in the private sector and by the state itself. The taxpayers of Chelmsford and the other 350 communities of the commonwealth deserve it.
Dahlberg is a candidate for the State Senate seat representing the 3rd Middlesex District.
Here is a link to my letter on the Sun’s site: Legislature needs to give municipalities authority to rein in health insurance costs.
Here is a link to this post on my own blog:
My letter in today’s Lowell Sun: Legislature needs to give municipalities authority to rein in health insurance costs