BHI in the Boston Herald: High health costs strangling cities, towns

Here’s BHI’s latest op-ed on municipal health insurance reform, published in the Boston Herald.

Firefighters from across Massachusetts recently urged legislators to spare cuts to local aid. They also used their State House visit to push back on proposed changes in municipal health insurance.

But in arguing against a much-needed tool for municipal leaders, firefighters overplayed their hand. Legislators would be better served by listening to mayors and town managers. For unlike the firefighters, municipal leaders have a partial solution to their fiscal problems: gaining control over health insurance plan design.

The current municipal health care insurance system is unsustainable. It is crowding out basic services.

A House bill would give cities and towns the same power to design health plans as the state enjoys through its Group Insurance Commission – free of the high transaction costs of collective bargaining. For the last 10 years municipalities have seen their insurance costs spike by 146 percent. The GIC, enabled by legislative reforms of 2007, has faced only an 86 percent increase.

Read more here.

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The Beacon Hill Institute engages in rigorous economic research and conducts educational programs for the purpose of producing and disseminating readable analyses of current public policy issues to voters, taxpayers, opinion leaders and policy makers.