Thursday, August 13, 2009

MEA News Release - August 13th, 2009

Evidence shows schools pay less for health insurance
New analysis breaks myths of health care debate

EAST LANSING, Mich., August 13, 2009 – A new report dramatically changes the debate on public employee health care with this single fact: Michigan schools spend less per employee than private companies for health insurance. And unlike the private sector, public school health care costs are going down.
“Wrong Diagnosis-Wrong Cure” dispels many of the common myths about public school employee health insurance currently being presented as truth in the cost-cutting debate.
“This report shows that Speaker Dillon’s health care proposal is based on misinformation and faulty data,” said MEA President Iris K. Salters. “The real numbers reported to the Michigan Department of Education clearly indicate that the root of financial problems for public schools is not rising health care costs, as Dillon would have you believe.”
Speaker Dillon’s proposal is based on bringing health care spending for public employees in line with what private employers pay, but this report shows that if that were to happen, Michigan taxpayers would end up paying much more.
The evidence—gathered from actual costs, not projections—is startling:
Over the last three years, Michigan’s public schools have experienced an actual reduction of almost $350 per employee per year in the cost of health benefits paid by school employers.
· In that same three year period, overall expenditures for health benefits provided by public school employers declined more than $36 million—while health care costs for private employers have increased more than 29 percent.
· Health insurance benefit costs for Michigan’s teachers are 20 percent below private sector costs.
· In 2008, only about 1 in 4 school support employees had access to any employer-paid medical insurance.
“Speaker Dillon’s plan is flawed from the onset because it relies on projected numbers, rather than actual costs,” said the report’s author, financial analyst Arch Lewis, “In fact, the study shows that the Dillon analysis is based on projected public school health benefit costs that are $365 million to $645 million above the actual 2007-08 costs for school employee health benefits.”
“Wrong Diagnosis-Wrong Cure” uses actual costs from school district reports to the MDE to “shatter misguided illusions and present clear and comprehensive facts,” said Lewis.
“Michigan taxpayers cannot afford to gamble on a proposal built on faulty analysis and misinformation. This report shows why it could end up costing us all millions more,” said Salters.
To see the complete report, “Wrong Diagnosis-Wrong Cure,” go to

Monday, August 10, 2009

Rep. Lisa Brown at MEA Office Aug. 18, 2009 @ 6:30 PM

Dear WLEA Friends,
Lisa Brown, the legislator for the eastern portion of our school district, cancelled her previous meeting with us, but she will now be coming on Tuesday, August 18th, 2009, at 6:30.

Cyndi Austin, our Uniserve Director, has asked us to meet at 6:00 pm prior to Rep. Brown's arrival. If you can come, I would greatly appreciate it.

If you need directions or would like to talk to me or Cyndi, please call the Uniserve Office.
39300 West Twelve Mile Road, Suite 140
Farmington Hills, MI 48331
Ofc: 248-553-8198

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dear Fellow WLEA Members,
First of all, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all your efforts to communicate with our representatives in Lansing! Secondly, I feel I have asked you a million times to pass on information this summer, and I hate to intrude on your vacation again. I persist only because I know how important quality health care is to all of us, and our health care is now being seriously threatened. In this blog I have included information from Steve Cook, the Vice president of the MEA.

First a Labor Coalition was formed by the efforts of Lu Battaglieri, the Executive Director of the MEA. Members of the Labor Coalition include:

Michigan Association of Governmental Employees
IUOE – Local 547
Michigan Nurses Association
SEIU Michigan State Council
Teamsters Local 214
Amalgamated Transit Union, Michigan Legislative Council
Michigan AFSCME Council 25
Michigan State Employees Association
IBEW Michigan State Conference

The Labor Coalition met with Mr. Dillon and here is Steve Cook's (MEA Vice President) summary of the meeting:
Dillon is sticking to his “concept” and we, together with members of the Labor Coalition, are working overtime with legislators to defeat it. Dillon however offered to the Coalition the idea that we could develop our own plan. Here’s the problem, each day at bargaining tables across the state each member of the Labor Coalition has members that are doing just that – dealing first hand with the high cost of health insurance with their employers in negotiations and selecting that insurance that both employers and union members can best afford. Dillon’s offer to the Labor Coalition to bargain against ourselves was refused.

Dillon’s unacceptable premise is that in order for the Labor Coalition to offer a plan it has to begin with the foundation of a one size fits all, take it or leave it statewide health plan and then build from there. As reported in Gongwer News Service yesterday, the AFT said there needs to be a “do-over” of the Dillon plan. AFSCME Council 25 said his plan is “not salvageable.” MEA agrees.

PLEASE WRITE YOUR LEGISLATORS!!!! Use EMAIL!!! Use your home accounts! I have listed districts, names, and email addresses below!
District 37 – Farmington & Farmington Hills – Vicki Barnett
District 38 – Novi, Walled Lake City, Wixom – Hugh Crawford
District 39 – West Bloomfield Twp., Commerce Twp.Lisa Brown
District 43 – West Bloomfield – Gail Haines
District 44 – White Lake Township – Eileen Kowall

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Letter From Representative Dillon Regarding His Health Care Proposal - What do you think?

Rep. Dillon's Letter:

Thank you for contacting me regarding your concerns with my recent proposal to reform health care for public sector employees. I appreciate your thoughtful suggestions and advocacy on this important matter.

Please know this is simply a proposal. At this time, no legislation has been agreed upon or introduced. To ensure all concerns are heard, I am continuing to meet with groups and organizations that would be affected by this proposal. With that said, as you know these are very tough economic times, and the effects resonate in the lives of all Michigan residents. I believe that with a budget deficit approaching $2 billion, state government must make some difficult cuts in spending and do its fair share to shoulder the burden - including legislators.

I have argued from the start that the state has been using one-time gimmicks for the past eight years to avoid addressing our structural deficit. We need to make tough cuts and implement serious reforms to reduce the cost of government.

The plan I am proposing will overhaul health care for Michigan's public sector employees and retirees, consolidating the hundreds of different health benefit plans under one roof. Creating this larger pool of customers will maximize efficiency and cost savings, while making health care more affordable and accessible. This move will save taxpayers almost $1 billion per year once fully implemented.

Please note that every public employee, including myself, my colleagues in the House and Senate, the Governor, all public school teachers and many others will be able to choose from the same health care plans. Finally, this is a pro-worker reform proposal. Current contracts in place will be honored, collective bargaining rights will be sustained and patient choice will be preserved.

It is necessary to assure the state is financially sound and can compete in the 21st Century. This reform will allow the state to continue to provide for access to affordable heath care, a quality educational system and adequately funded police and fire protection, all of which are critical ingredients to a healthy economy.

As I stated earlier, this is just a proposal. In the coming weeks I will continue to meet with many groups representing state and municipal workers throughout Michigan. It is my hope we can come together and work on a solution that works best for all parties, especially Michigan citizens.

Please rest assured that I will keep your views in mind as we work through this process.

For additional information, you may view my proposal at .

Again, thank you for your correspondence. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future regarding this or any other matter of concern.