Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Granholm Opens State Health-Care Plans to Local Governments, School Districts and Universities

Boom, there it is.

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today issued Executive Directive 2010-1 that clears the way for local units of government and other public entities such as school districts and universities to participate in state of Michigan health-care benefit plans offered to state employees. The action is part of a series of government reforms proposed by the governor in January.

“A state health-care benefit plan recently negotiated with a number of state employee groups reduces the state’s cost of providing health-care coverage to every newly hired state employee by 21.3 percent,” Granholm said. “By offering other public employers and their employees the option of participating in this new state health-care benefit plan, we are in essence allowing them to reduce their costs, too, which will benefit all Michigan taxpayers.”

The executive directive gives the director of the Department of Management and Budget (DMB) and the director of the Office of the State Employer (OSE) until June 30, 2010, to identify and remove any barriers to participation in the state’s health-care benefit plans by local units of government and other public entities.

Local units of government include cities, villages, townships and counties. Other public entities include school districts and public colleges and universities.

All the state’s health-care benefit plans would be open to participation, including the state’s PPO plan, health maintenance organization plans, prescription drug coverage programs, dental-care plans and vision-care plans.

Does this mean we can point and laugh at Speaker Dillon's "force 'em all at gunpoint" plan now? Sure hope so. Will await the fallout from this move, but since it sounds fiscally responsible and reasonable, chances are the Legislature won't like it.