‘Government Worked’ in City Health Insurance Matter

For those of us who believe in government as the civilized way to make decisions about matters in life that affect us all, the action at the Lowell City Council this evening is reason for optimism. Our municipal representatives and professional staff in collaboration with the various labor unions in the city found their way through a complex negotiation over the future of city health care insurance coverage and its cost. The City Council unanimously congratulated the leaders and members of 19 unions and City Manager Lynch’s team for a “signal achievement” that will benefit those participating in the city plan and the taxpayers of Lowell. This has been a longstanding topic of discussion on Tuesday nights. All involved deserve much credit for finding a solution.

3 Responses to ‘Government Worked’ in City Health Insurance Matter

  1. John Zagarella says:

    I have been critical in the past towards the administration but it appears that we will save at least 5 million dollars a year according to estimates and that is worthy of recognition.Any chance I may see a reduction in my property tax?

  2. Jason says:

    The amount saved will continue to increase in the years after next because the contributions to the mitigation fund will decrease each year. It is my understanding that the first year is the major contribution only because the state law would have mandated the same savings back to the workers in the first year under plan design. The savings should be significantly more than 5 million after FY2013. The Sun’s report that half the saving went back to employees wasn’t exactly accurate. A decrease in the insurance rates accounts for most of it and the mitigation fund only has the significant lump sum in year one. The city will gain significantly more savings in the years that follow and still has the threat of plan design when this deal is up if it so chooses. Of course this is with the assumption that the cost of healthcare overall doesn’t continue on the same course it has been.

    I think its safe to say the 2.5 property tax increase won’t be necessary next fiscal year. For me personally I wonder if there will be another excuse for not fully funding the fire department with all this money now available. Keeping all the stations open 24/7/365 should be a major priority as well as any tax cuts and it would take only a small fraction of the 5 million. It wouldn’t hurt to bring the LPD staffing levels back up either. These were one of the major goals of the city’s latest strategic plan to increase public safety.

    One of the biggest reasons everyone thought the GIC was the best course was because Blue Cross/Blue Shield essentially refused to negotiate on the rates to have a plan comparable to the GIC. Given their excessive executive compensation I’m not surprised,

    As for me I don’t mind paying my taxes. To paraphrase Oliver Wendell Holmes, they buy me civilization.

  3. Righty Bulger says:

    This example of municipal government working came about only because the state legislature took away union bargaining power. Once it was clear managers and mayors could do what they wanted, unions had no choice but to capitulate and try to save face any way they could. Does anyone out there really think Georges would have caved if he didn’t have to?