Sen. Jansen testifies on bills to control public health care costs
LANSING — Sen. Mark C. Jansen, R-Gaines Township, testified Tuesday before a Senate panel on his legislation designed to help control costs and ensure taxpayer dollars are spent more efficiently.
The proposed laws would require all public employees, including lawmakers, to contribute at least 20 percent of the cost of their health insurance benefits, or at least 10 percent if their medical benefit plan uses a high-deductible policy with a health savings account (HSA).
“The structural reforms in this legislation came from the grass roots in Kent County,” said Jansen, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “The superintendents in particular suggested this change and fully support addressing employee health care in this way. I appreciate their honest feedback and the straightforward dialogue we have had with local schools, governments and other interested parties. This affects me too and my staff – we will lead by example.”
Superintendents from across Kent County, including Michael Shibler of Rockford Public Schools and Jon Felske of Wyoming Public Schools, suggested this law change. Shibler and Felske traveled to Lansing to testify before the Senate Reforms and Restructuring Committee in support of Senate Bill 1046 and Senate Joint Resolution P.
SBs 1046 and 1047 and SJR P provide a tool for local governments and schools to reduce health care costs. The proposals are short- and long-term cost-controlling measures for the state, schools, local units of government, and colleges and universities.
Private sector employees in Michigan and other Great Lakes states contribute 21 percent for single coverage and 27 percent for family coverage on average, compared to public employees who contribute on average 10 percent for single coverage and 15 percent for family coverage.
According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, health savings accounts are designed to help individuals save for future qualified medical and retiree health expenses on a tax-free basis.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels expects his state to save at least $20 million in 2010 due to its high HSA enrollment. More than 70 percent of Indiana’s state government employees voluntarily signed up for this program.
“These measures will help address the ever-rising cost of health care without changing the quality and scope of the coverage offered to public employees,” Jansen said. “These proposals will engage public employees and employers in the health care debate.”
Posted: Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Print friendly version Email this page