Monday, August 17, 2009

Action Needed Now

Speaker of the House Andy Dillon has proposed a statewide health care plan for all public employees that would slash your coverage and strip your rights to bargain them. His proposal is anti-union, anti-collective bargaining and anti-public school employee.

This plan has gotten a lot of press – and MEA has been at the heart of this fight. The fight for health care that keeps you and your family safe. But to win this debate, we need your help in getting the facts out and ensuring that your legislators in Lansing understand how strongly you oppose the Speaker’s scheme.

A close examination of Speaker Dillon’s conceptual white paper makes it clear that:

- Speaker Dillon calls for the creation of a new government agency that would be empowered to review and approve or reject diagnoses and treatment plans between patients and their doctors.

- Speaker Dillon is clearly proposing a government-run health care fund and huge expansion of state government.

- His white paper presents his idea in the abstract, while offering little factual evidence or credible research to support any claims of real savings. In many cases, Speaker Dillon himself is unsure how his idea will be translated into legislation.

- No public policy debate of any value can be conducted until Speaker Dillon’s legislation is introduced.

- It will take at least two years, and likely more, before the state takeover and health fund could be implemented. There are no budget savings for at least three years, if ever.

- Increasing state government’s financial responsibility for another $4 to $6 billion in health care costs is risky and could be a big budget-buster.

- Speaker Dillon’s limited concept completely ignores the real research that should drive a public policy debate about public employee compensation: a fair analysis of total compensation, including salary and benefits; a history of bargaining; and consideration of the value of quality benefit packages to attracting talented individuals to careers in public service.

What are the facts?

- During the past three years, Michigan’s school employees have already saved taxpayers more than $700 million in health insurance costs by accepting lower cost health coverage or paying more out of pocket for co-pays and premiums.

- Through salary and wage concessions during the past three years, Michigan school employees have saved taxpayers an additional $200 million.

- In order to save $900 million, Speaker Dillon's plan would have to massively cut school employee health care premiums (and coverage) - some by as much as half.

- Currently 90% or more of the public employee health insurance market is served by Michigan companies. Speaker Dillon’s plan could export Michigan jobs and taxpayer dollars to other states and overseas if a large national insurance player wins the bid to underwrite the state-run health plan.

- Health care is a national problem that requires a national solution – one that our leaders in Washington are working on right now.

Your legislators in Lansing need to hear these facts from you. They need to stand up and demand that the Speaker provide details and legislation to back up his claims. They need to defend the health care and bargaining rights of half a million Michigan public workers and their families.

Kent County Representatives
Justin Amash 517-373-0840
Tom Pearce 517-373-0218
Robert Dean 517-373-2668
Roy Schmidt 517-373-0822
Kevin Green 517-373-2277
Dave Hildenbrand 517-373-0846

Please call or write your representative today! Tell him/her that the Dillon Plan is bad for Michigan.

Outside of Kent County
Look-up your representative at:


Sample Script: "I am a public school employee. I strongly urge you to oppose Speaker Dillon's health care proposal for all public employees. It is anti-employee, anti-collective bargaining and anti-union."

Also, as you see coverage of the Speaker’s scheme in the news, be sure to write letters to the editor or post comments on Web sites stating your opinion.

We can’t let this assault on public employee health benefits and bargaining rights go unanswered. Together, as union members, we can and will stop this attack and promote real solutions to our state’s budget crisis, including closing hundreds of millions in inefficient tax loopholes and restoring the promise of Proposal A to fully fund public education in our state.