State Rep: Health Insurance
Speliotis says the health care industry is to blame for high insurance costs; Bennett says towns need relief from the state.
As a way to inform our readers about the candidates, Patch asked the two candidates for State Representative of the 13th Essex District five questions that focused on topics ranging from taxes to health insurance and creating jobs in the Commonwealth.
Here is Question 4:
As health insurance costs continue to burden municipal budgets, where you do stand on granting cities and towns more control over health plan design in order to reduce costs, similar to the control the state has?
Theodore Speliotis (D), incumbent
Plan design becomes a very attractive option because we have not, in this country and state, aggressively attacked the health care industry to reduce cost. Plan design increases the costs to my constituents while leaving the industry unchecked to raise costs. Danvers employees currently pay 30 percent of their premium while Topsfield employees pay 36 percent, therefore the argument that local employees have a sweet heart deal is just not true in these two communities. However, if local aid continues to be cut this proposal may be a necessary option.
Daniel Bennett (R)
Over the last 10 years health insurance costs for our cities and towns have increased 150 percent. Without real health insurance reform communities will continue to pay too much for employee health benefits. The legislature has been reluctant to give cities and towns the same authority to design health insurance plans without collective bargaining as the state has.
Legislation should be enacted giving cities and towns the right to design their plans, join the Group Insurance Commission, and guarantee that employees will receive health benefits at least equal to what state employees receive.
This will save 100 million dollars, protect municipal jobs and guarantee equity. This is the type of meaningful reform I will advocate for.