Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More Newspaper and MESSA stuff

Speaking of newspaper stuff. This morning's Livingston County Press had an editorial bashing teachers, their unions, and school districts for not trying to control insurance costs. This came almost directly after two specific contract settlements in Livingston County. First, Pinckney Teachers settled their contract and moved BACK to MESSA, saving the district $332,000. A bargaining group of support people just settled a contract in Hartland and moved to a less costly MESSA plan, also saving the district money.

The timing of the editorial really doesn't make sense to me, except ..in my humble opinion...the criticism of MESSA and teacher health care has nothing to do with COST. I believe it is an attack on teacher and support staff unions. Ever since Engler was the governor it seems we've been under attack. Republicans who have followed in Engler's footsteps have also been after the teacher unions and the health care. Here is where I believe Lansing lobbyists come in. I would bet that the insurance industry lobbyists have spent major dollars to get a law like PA 106 passed. That provides access to MESSA insurance experience information, and in turn allows the insurance companies to give quotes for teacher and support staff insurance. The whole move is to get what the insurance companies view as a lucrative insurance market and thus more $$$. So, now these "other" companies come in, as they did in Pinckney, low bid their product, but later raise rates more than MESSA ever has (Pinckney's "other" company raised rates by 35%).

So, I wrote a letter to the Livingston County Press. We'll see if they publish it.