Dear Brothers and Sisters:
I regret to report that that the Group Insurance Commission (GIC) is considering a proposal that would shift significant health care cost increases onto the backs of our members and retirees. Those changes currently under consideration include:
- Medical benefit plan design changes
- Significant deductible and co-pay increases
- Adding tiers and deductibles to the pharmacy benefit
- Narrowing provider networks
I find this proposal to be nothing short of outrageous.
If approved, these changes would severely impact all public employees, including Local 6 members, who depend on GIC –provided health insurance to cover their most important health care needs and those of their families.
On Friday, January 13, I joined with other public sector union leaders and retiree advocates to discuss strategies to fight this latest attempt to shift health insurance costs to public sector workers. While we discussed many different approaches to the issue, we all agreed that the first step has to be slowing down the approval process. Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steve Tolman reached out to House Speaker Deleo and Senate President Rosenberg with the hope that they could exercise their influence over the Governor and the GIC.
On Tuesday, January 17, I joined a delegation of union leaders from the public sector that met with both Speaker DeLeo and Senate President Rosenberg to update them on the proposed changes and the detrimental impact they will have on our respective members. Both leaders expressed concern over the financial impact of increased out-of-pocket costs on employees, and yesterday each sent a letter to the Commission requesting that a vote be delayed until after a public hearing is held. Please see their letters below.
There is no question that the rising cost of health insurance is a challenge that must be addressed and Local 6 stands ready to partner with the state and the GIC in seeking solutions that are fair and responsible. Cost-shifting, as currently being contemplated by the GIC, is not.
I assure you that Local 6 will make every effort, on our own and in concert with our brothers and sisters in the Massachusetts labor movement, to protect our current and retired members from this shameful attempt to cut costs by shifting those costs onto the state’s public workers.
Yours in solidarity,