AIM Associate Vice President Brad MacDougall testifyed at a packed Beacon Hill hearing today in favor of an AIM bill that would allow municipal officials to negotiate health insurance plan design outside of collective bargaining.
The hearing at Gardner Auditorium drew some 300 spectators to comment on competing proposals to help the 351 cities and towns of Massachusetts manage the crushing cost of providing health insurance for employees and retirees. Governor Deval Patrick, the business community, municipal government officials and organized labor have all proposed strategies to address the crisis.
Absent meaningful reform, cities and towns will find themselves swallowed by accelerating health care premiums that are already diverting scarce money from the schools, police, fire, roads and bridges upon which business depends. Rising health premiums consumed two-thirds of all increases in state spending between FY 2000 to FY 2010 and are also diverting desperately needed state education funding from the classrooms where the future of our economy now sits.
"Health care costs are unsustainable," Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll told the hearing minutes ago.
AIM’s Brad MacDougall is at the hearing. Follow his updates on Twitter @aimbusinessnews.