You Pay 20% of Your Health Care Bill Out of Committee
The Senate Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing Committee on Wednesday passed legislation requiring public employees to pay 20 percent of their health care.
Senate Bill 0007 moved, 4-2, with Sen. Mike Kowall (R-White Lake) passing and Sens. Coleman Young (D-Detroit) and Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor) voting no. Senate Joint Resolution C passed, 5-2, with the two Democrats voting no. This measure would need to go in front of voters as a constitutional amendment necessary because Michigan's 15 public universities are autonomous under the Michigan Constitution.
Jansen noted that there's precedent for the 80/20 formula, as former Gov. Jennifer Granholm successfully negotiated that with some new state hires and Gov. Rick Snyder is looking to do the same.
Estimated savings from the legislation would be $540 million for school districts and $80 to $100 million for state employees. Jansen said it's not known how much municipalities could save.
Jansen said he was confident that he had the numbers in both chambers for passage. Senate Joint Resolution C takes a two-thirds majority of both houses and then would go on the 2012 ballot. He said he expected legislation to move along with the budget and probably be taken up by the Senate this month.
The implementation date in the substitute passed today is Jan. 1, 2012. There's some support for going back to the Jan. 1, 2013, date in the original bill, but that wouldn't impact the Fiscal Year 2012 budget. Jansen notes many school district and state contracts are up now.
"I'm firmly for 2012," he said.
Warren proposed an amendment to SB 0007 that failed on a 3-4 vote, with she, Young and Kowall as the "yes" votes. It would have allowed for schools, intermediate school districts and higher education institutions to opt out with a two-thirds vote of their respective boards. Under the substitute bill, only local governments are allowed to do so.
Jansen said he didn't favor an exception for educational institutions, saying that that's where most of the change needs to come.
When asked if he supported SB 0305, sponsored by Jones, which would exempt school districts that already require employees to pay 20 percent of their health care costs from the FY '12 budget cuts, Jansen said he "didn't want to get off-track" from the legislation moved from committee today, but he said that he didn't "want to hurt people that are doing the right thing."