Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The End of MESSA?

Here is the latest news from Lansing:

The Legislative Commission on Governmental Efficiency continues to focus on health care benefits of public employees, particularly employees of public schools. Created by statute to examine ways to achieve efficiency in government, the commission has obsessed with finding ways to cut benefits and thereby reduce the compensation of school employees through the creating of a single, statewide, government run health care plan for all public employees, including school employees.

This is merely a revisit of SB 55 and SB 56 from a few years ago, and ignores the findings of a private study commissioned by the Senate and conducted by the Hayes Group that there are not significant administrative efficiencies to be achieved by dismantling the health care system that is currently in place for public school employees.

While the Governmental Efficiency Commission has not issued any public pronouncements in recent months, there continues to be considerable chatter by Lansing insiders to the effect that it is ready to issue a recommendation to force all school employees into a single state run plan. Last week the blog “Center for Michigan” posted an article claiming that the Commission is pursuing efficiency by cutting $300 million for community colleges from the State general fund general purpose (GF/GP) budget and replace it with $300 million from funds dedicated to the K-12 school aid fund (SAF). The $300 million hole in the SAF budget would be made up through an early retirement buy out and the creation of a single, state run health insurance plan for school employees.

Leaders from both parties and both legislative chambers seem to be buying into this flawed line of reasoning. Contact your representative and senator and urge them to oppose any state run health insurance plan for school employees. It was a bad idea four years ago and it still is a bad idea.