Also see: A Healthy Insult For the American People
Yeah, the locals and that state are filled with the same slime (as your taxes rise and services are slashed, Bay State residents; ain't Massachusetts grand?):
"Almost all of the increase in municipal health care costs in the past 10 years has been shouldered by taxpayers, who are subsidizing plans that are often superior to their own... With health costs soaring year after year, communities must ask taxpayers for more money even while providing fewer services....
And it gets worse, taxpayers.
Unlike most municipal plans, private-sector plans also often force subscribers to pay thousands annually in deductibles.... Municipal plans pay as much as 89 percent of premiums, while typically requiring $5 copayments for office visits and $25 for emergency room treatments. Plans in the private sector typically pay less than 70 percent of premiums, and require $20 copayments or more for office visits and $100 for emergency room treatments.... In addition, cities and towns are among the last employers to offer costly indemnity plans, which provide virtually unrestricted medical care....
Yeah, YOU DON'T GET THAT, taxpayers!
But it gets EVEN WORSE!
Beyond the immediate costs, huge liabilities loom. Communities have promised current and future retirees billions in health care subsidies, a burden taxpayers will bear long into the future.... For taxpayers, there is no relief in sight.... Public employee unions and retiree groups, which make generous donations to the treasuries of many state officer-holders, are well-connected on Beacon Hill."
Yeah, it's a BIG CLUB -- and YOU AIN'T IN IT, taxpayers!!!
Related: Memory Hole: Why the Nation Doesn't Need Massachusetts Health Care
That's why prices are out of control.
And remember, your "public servant(?)" is accessing it more frequently at taxpayer expense -- as you yourselves are denied so many things.
Then compare that with the s*** the DemocraPs are shoveling down in D.C.
"Runaway health costs are rocking municipal budgets; But there’s no will or willingness to roll back benefits granted in palmier times" by Sean P. Murphy, Globe Staff | February 28, 2010
First of two parts.
Elizabeth Debski simply took what she was owed under a municipal health care system whose generous benefits and colossal inefficiencies are crippling cities and towns across Massachusetts.
Yeah, the PUBLIC SECTOR EMPLOYEES -- you know, your public servants!!!
A six-month review by the Globe found that municipal health plans, which cover employees, retirees, and elected officials, provide benefit levels largely unheard of in the private sector.
Well, when YOU DECIDE what TAXPAYERS WILL PAY for YOUR HEALTH CARE I guess you can write yourself a pretty good deal, huh?
Yup, THIS NATION is ROTTED TO the CORE! If "liberal, tolerant, compassionate" Massachusetts is being LOOTED then you might as well toss in the towel.
Copays are much lower. Some communities do not force retirees onto Medicare at age 65. Many citizens on elected boards - some after serving as few as six years - receive coverage for life, too.
I hope they smoke.
Just looking to save you a few bucks, taxpayers, because your "public servants" sure as hell are not.
As medical costs across the board rose over the past decade, municipal health care expenses exploded, draining local budgets and forcing major cuts in services, higher property tax bills, and billions in new debt.
See who the WINNERS and LOSERS are, taxpayers.
Yeah, you are all alone on one side over there.
“It has got to be dealt with,’’ said Richard Fortucci , the chief financial officer in Lynn. “Or we will all go bankrupt.’’
That's the plan, isn't it, government?
Either that or you are totally bought off and incompetent, and neither one looks good. Who really needs your lying, looting asses anyway?
The cost of municipal health care more than doubled from fiscal 2001 to 2008, adding more than $1 billion in all to city and town budgets, according to state Department of Revenue data. A Globe survey of 25 communities found that they now devote, on average, 14 percent of their budgets to health care, up from 8 percent a decade ago....
Hey, thank Partners.
So far, with powerful labor unions resistant to giving away hard-won benefits and a lack of political will in the state Legislature to force changes, efforts to overhaul the system have fallen short.
Yeah, PUBLIC SECTOR UNIONS being funded by.... TAXPAYERS!!!!
There are NO PRIVATE UNIONS anymore -- well, none worth s*** here in AmeriKa.
To be sure, many municipal employees, elected officials, and retirees are paying a greater percentage of their health premiums than ever. Still, almost all of the increase in municipal health care costs in the past 10 years has been shouldered by taxpayers, who are subsidizing plans that are often superior to their own....
Love those terms, don't you?
I love biased bulls*** passing itself off as news.
Words and phrases my college writing instructor told me to NEVER, EVER use in a "report." But that's the BG and AmeriKan newspaper industry these days; it's why they are collapsing despite occasional one-day wonders like this.
If they were really effective and looking out for the people as they claim pressure would be brought to bear and things would change.
Instead it is the the same old state-supporting agenda-pushing, distortions, and lies day after day on (insert selected topic here).
She could get insurance through her husband’s employer but doesn’t, for a simple reason: The municipal plan is far more generous and costs less....
Yup, and YOU are going to get a NATIONAL HEALTH TAX on top of it, Bay-Staters!
The consequences of failing to face this crisis are on display in many cities and towns, nowhere more vividly than in Lawrence.
In that city, on Feb. 1, children were momentarily trapped in a burning apartment building, down the street from a fire station. But the city had recently shuttered the station, to help close a $24 million budget gap, and firefighters had to race from another location. The children escaped, but the fire chief warned the city it may not be so lucky next time.
But we have plenty of $$$ for debt interest payments to banks and tax loot for well-connected corporations here in Massachusetts, as well as generous health plan for state workers.
Meanwhile, Lawrence, one of the poorest municipalities in Massachusetts, continues to pay among the highest rates in the state for health care benefits. The city’s health care kitty, which it uses to pay for coverage, is currently $4 million in the red.
Related: Lawrence in the Limelight
Health care costs are not the only budget-buster for cities and towns, of course, but their rise has led not just to fewer firefighters in Lawrence but diminished services across the state.
Welcome to Taxachushitts!!
Library hours have been cut in Wayland and Hull. Wakefield has deferred road and sidewalk repairs. Malden has introduced fees for trash pickup.
Related: Boston Libraries Go Quiet
Seriously, WhereTF are ALL THOSE INCREASED TAXES GOING?
Services being SLASHED so BANKS can GET PAID and POLITICIANS can PARTY DOWN at taxpayer expense, huh?
Class sizes have increased in Chelsea. Major layoffs have hit, among others, Boston, New Bedford, Worcester, and Brockton - with officials in all those communities citing rising health care costs as a major factor. Revere last year closed City Hall on Fridays, to save cash.
“What am I going to do next, put a padlock on the police station and tell people to call the State Police instead?’’ asked Mayor Thomas G. Ambrosino of Revere, who, like other mayors, is covered by municipal insurance.
Yeah, HE has GOOD INSURANCE thanks to YOU, taxpayers!
Communities, under a 30-year-old initiative known as Proposition 2 1/2, can raise their tax levy each year by no more than 2.5 percent. In Revere, health care costs are rising at close to 10 percent a year. This fiscal year, the rise in health care expenses alone is projected to consume all of Revere’s $1.5 million allowable tax increase - and then some.
With health costs soaring year after year, communities must ask taxpayers for more money even while providing fewer services. Indeed, local officials say, Proposition 2 1/2 overrides - loathed at kitchen tables - are often attributable, at least in part, to skyrocketing health expenses.
Oh, so you RAISE TAXES and the HEALTH COSTS INCREASE, huh?
Yeah, THEY SEE a PILE of TAXPAYER LOOT and it's off the the trough!!
Voters in Weston passed a $1.1 million override in 2006, primarily because of health care costs, which had risen by more than 80 percent in four years.
It proved to be a temporary fix. By 2009 Weston needed more money to cover health care increases, said Donna S. VanderClock, town manager. The town avoided another override after unionized employees agreed to join the state’s health care system, saving about $1.7 million in the first year, VanderClock said.
Beyond the immediate costs, huge liabilities loom. Communities have promised current and future retirees billions in health care subsidies, a burden taxpayers will bear long into the future.
Lynn owes current and future retirees an estimated $450 million in benefits over the course of their lives - five times as much as it takes in annually in taxes, according to estimates by city actuaries.
It was a nice town for a while there, but here that flushing sound?
Brookline’s unfunded liability for health care is $320 million; Boston’s is $5.7 billion.
Good luck, Boston readers.
Yeah, that's BILLION with a B!
Though some communities, such as Wellesley, Needham, and Boston, have begun putting aside interest-earning money every year to help meet those obligations, the vast majority of municipalities have not. Local officials say they can barely afford to pay today’s health care bills, let alone tomorrow’s....
‘Very, very rich plans’
Jane Teal said she only wanted to help her hometown when she ran successfully for Lynn City Council in 1995. She served for six years, then stepped down, eventually moving to Florida with her husband. Today, Lynn taxpayers are paying $22,600 a year for the couple’s health care.
That's a good years wages for a worker around here.
“It never crossed my mind that I would get insurance when I ran for office,’’ she said. “But I am glad to have it.’’
Yeah, screw this state and its taxpayers that are paying for your coverage.
I hope you froze your ass off in Florida this year.
Six former city councilors are insured by Everett, plus 12 current ones. In Kingston, 10 part-time elected officials receive town-subsidized health coverage, including four Planning Board members, three Health Board members, and a sewer commissioner, all of whom typically attend two meetings a month....
It's called looting, readers.
The extension of benefits to local elected officials is one vivid example of how generous many municipal health care plans are.
Yeah, but YOU CAN'T HAVE what YOU PAY FOR so your "public servant," taxpayers.
In fact, national data show that state and local government pay significantly more for health benefits than private employers.
Municipal health care plans were once deemed affordable and have helped cities and towns attract workers to the public sector, where salaries have often been lower.
Yeah, the poor state looters.
Today, however, they stand out for their comparatively low cost to subscribers and favorable terms.
Taxpayers now underwrite as much as 89 percent of active employees’ premiums in some of the state’s largest cities, while private-sector employers often cover less than 70 percent, local and state data show. As health care expenses have climbed for everyone, taxpayers - already paying a generous share of municipal benefits - have been hit especially hard as those benefits have grown more costly.
Doesn't the LOOTING ITSELF make you sick?
The insurance plans many cities and towns offer to employees, retirees, and elected officials also require minimal out-of-pocket expenses, with copayments for office appointments as low as $5. Most have copays for emergency room visits of $25 or less.
By comparison, private-sector copays for office visits are typically at least $20, sometimes more, with $75 copays standard for emergency room visits, according to a survey of Massachusetts employers by the state Division of Health Care Finance and Policy. Unlike most municipal plans, private-sector plans also often force subscribers to pay thousands annually in deductibles before insurers pay anything.
In addition, cities and towns are among the last employers to offer costly indemnity plans, which provide virtually unrestricted medical care. Though phased out in much of the private sector, indemnity plans live on in about a third of Bay State municipalities, according to a 2008 survey by the Massachusetts Municipal Association.
Even with family HMO plans, which typically limit access within a defined network of providers, municipal premiums are, in some cases, 30 percent higher than in the private sector, according to a Globe survey of communities and state data.
Though cities and towns have some control over what benefits they provide, they are limited by state law: Not only does the law subject health benefits to local collective bargaining, the state also imposes certain mandates on municipalities. Communities that offer health care to active workers, for example, must also offer coverage to retirees.
The generous terms of municipal plans compound the problem, because they create incentives for higher use: Low out-of-pocket costs - particularly the minimal copays - encourage subscribers to use more medical services, thus driving up the overall expense to communities....
Yeah, THANKS for HELPING US out with the BELT-TIGHTENING as TAXES are RAISED and SERVICES SLASHED!
A boon for retirees
For taxpayers, there is no relief in sight, and for one simple reason: Municipal health benefits are especially good in retirement, and the number of retirees has grown by a steady 2.5 percent per year since 2001, in part because of longer life expectancies.
Under state law, any municipal employee with 10 years service is eligible, in retirement, to get health care benefits for life from age 55, a benefit typically worth hundreds of thousands of dollars per person....
Yeah, that is why you are in the red, taxpayers!
Some cities and towns do not even compel retirees to use Medicare for nonemergency care once they reach 65, in effect leaving millions of dollars in federal subsidies on the table. Instead, retirees choose to stick with the more generous, and more costly, municipal plans.
Communities, under a state law passed in 1991, can force employees to enroll with Medicare, but only if the change is approved by the city council or town meeting. In some places, that has proven politically difficult, given the clout of active and retired municipal workers.
Boston, Lowell, and Lawrence are among those that have yet to adopt the provision. In Boston alone, there are more than 1,500 retirees who are eligible for Medicare but do not take it, costing the city almost $5 million, according to city estimates.
“Getting into Medicare is a tough vote,’’ said John Condon, Brockton’s chief financial officer. “People don’t like change.... ’’
Even though we allegedly have been voting for it?
Oh, STATE LOOTERS don't like that kind of change, I see!!!
They like thi$ kind.
Other municipal retirees don’t sign up for Medicare simply because they are not eligible. Most police, firefighters, and teachers retire before age 65, and are thus too young to be covered by the federal system. That means cities and towns pay as much to insure them - at least until they reach 65 - as they do to insure active employees.
Even when retirees are on Medicare, it is still expensive for municipalities, because state mandates require communities to help cover drug costs and other expenses not paid by the program. By contrast, private-sector retirees are typically on their own.
Yeah, the self-serving state isn't going to help!
“In the private sector, when you turn 65, most employers say, ‘Good luck on Medicare,’ ’’ said Roland McDevitt, director of health care research for the consulting firm Towers Watson, “And that’s it.’’
Yup, that's the best advice they can give you.
And what will change?
"Unions safeguard health benefits; Strapped towns seek law change" by Sean P. Murphy, Globe Staff | March 1, 2010
Second of two parts
Meanwhile, even with greater attention in Massachusetts and nationally toward reining in the expense of medical care, no one expects health care costs to stop their rapid rise anytime soon....
Hear the oinking, readers (with all due apologies to the pigs)?
Oh, yeah, right, state will compel them to another plan just as they compel you to pay a penalty, right, Bay-Staters?
"Coverage switch urged for localities; Study finds savings in state health plan; Law change sought to empower towns" by Sean P. Murphy, Globe Staff | March 3, 2010
Cities and towns would save tens of millions of dollars in health care costs for employees, retirees, and elected officials by joining the state’s much larger, more flexible health care system, according to a new report by the Boston Foundation.
The foundation’s detailed study of four municipalities - Boston, Cambridge, Melrose, and Marshfield - illustrates how health care expenses are severely hampering communities across Massachusetts....
Currently, communities can join the state’s Group Insurance Commission only with the approval of local unions. But with some exceptions, unions across the state have rejected such a move because it would end up costing their members more money, particularly in the form of higher copayments.
Of course, you KNOW WHO IS PAYING FOR IT, right, taxpayers?
Cities and towns are pushing the Legislature to change the law so communities can join the state system without union approval.
“It’s the single most important step the Legislature can take to address the budget crisis of the cities and towns,’’ Paul S. Grogan, president of the Boston Foundation, said in an interview yesterday.
The Globe reported earlier this week on how exploding municipal health care costs are wrecking local budgets, forcing cities and towns to cut services and ask more of taxpayers.
Yeah, all of a sudden they care about the taxpayers.
Must be an election coming soon.
Grogan said that municipal plans stand out by being far more generous to subscribers than almost all other plans in the public or private sectors.
“The current plans in the municipalities are just way out of whack compared to what everyone else pays,’’ he said. “All we are asking is to bring the municipalities into line with others.’’
The Globe reported that municipal plans pay as much as 89 percent of premiums, while typically requiring $5 copayments for office visits and $25 for emergency room treatments.
Plans in the private sector typically pay less than 70 percent of premiums, and require $20 copayments or more for office visits and $100 for emergency room treatments.
The GIC’s copayments are on par with the private sector’s.
The Boston Foundation report also recommends that the Legislature give municipalities who do not join the GIC the power to increase premiums and copayments of the plans they offer without collective bargaining. In addition, the report says, cities and towns would save millions by forcing retirees onto Medicare at age 65, a politically difficult decision some communities have refused to make....
Public employee unions are leery of changes to municipal health care plans.
Yup, SERVING YOU, public!
Brad Tenney, secretary-treasurer of the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts, an umbrella group of local unions, said his members are willing to “sit down with leaders on Beacon Hill and in the municipalities to reach a meeting of the minds.’’
“We recognize the significant cost of health care,’’ he said. “But we feel it is unfair to look at health insurance in a vacuum. Members gave up pay raises or accepted smaller pay raises through the years for the health care benefits they have.’’
Oh, well, then f*** you, too. Plenty of room in the boat.
Can't decide whether we should eat 'em or throw 'em overboard (with tar and feathers).
Public employee unions and retiree groups, which make generous donations to the treasuries of many state officer-holders, are well-connected on Beacon Hill.
Yup, "PUBLIC SERVANTS" ALL!!
In brief interviews on Monday, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray expressed little desire to strip union employees of long-held collective bargaining rights.
Yeah, but it is OKAY to SCREW PRIVATE SECTOR WORKERS!!!
I mean, I agree on the collective bargaining; however, I AM NOT in FAVOR of a LOOTERS UNION of "public servants."
Murray also said she did not believe the GIC was capable of accepting cities and towns without increasing its staff.
The GIC provides health insurance for about 300,000 state employees, retirees, and elected officials, including employees and retirees of numerous independent authorities....
Think about that for a minute: GOVERNMENT bargaining with ITSELF!!!
What a fucking racket they have going as the tax loot is tossed around!
Robert Carey, a consultant and former GIC official who wrote the Boston Foundation report, said in an interview that the GIC would save municipalities not only by shifting more costs to subscribers, but also by lowering overall costs.
He said the GIC saves money in part by steering subscribers to those medical providers whom the plan rates as most cost-efficient. It does so by providing a financial incentive. Subscribers who go to doctors rated the least cost-efficient pay a $45 copayment, while they pay $20 copayments for doctors rated the most cost-efficient.
The GIC also rewards subscribers for using lower-cost hospitals.
Where is your reward, taxpayers?
No, I don't consider a kick in the ass a reward?
And look at what the well-meaning looters devised for you, taxpayers:
- The Massachusetts Model: Working Or Not?
- The Massachusetts Model: Going Out of Business
- The Massachusetts Model: Crazy Coverage
- The Massachusetts Model: Immigrant Insult
- The Massachusetts Model: Profit and the Paycheck
- The Massachusetts Model: Doctors' Diet
- The Massachusetts Model: By the Numbers
- The Massachusetts Model: Treasurer's Assessment
- The Massachusetts Model: Care-Keeping Costs
- The Massachusetts Model: Mass. Hospitality
- The Massachusetts Model: Lessons Learned
- The Massachusetts Model: Non-Compliant Complacency
- The Massachusetts Model: Office Visit
- The Massachusetts Model: Student Shakedown
- The Massachusetts Model: Medicaid Mess
- The Massachusetts Model: Destroying Small Business
- The Massachusetts Model: Upset Stomach
- The Massachusetts Model: Poor Hospitals Shortchanged By State
- The Massachusetts Model: Partners' Profits
- The Massachusetts Model: Padding Insurer Profits
- The Massachusetts Model: Tax-Exempt Memory Hole
- The Massachusetts Model: What to Expect
- The Massachusetts Model: Insuring the Casualties of Empire