Cities, towns want more health care control

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healthgeneric Cities, towns want more health care control

Facing declining state aid and local tax revenues, municipal officials are clamoring for a new tool to save money: the ability to unilaterally change the health care plans they provide to employees, elected officials and retirees.

Geoffrey Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, says municipalities could save $2.5 billion in a decade if they could adjust premiums and co-payments without union approval.

State officials already enjoy this power, but municipalities have to go through the collective-bargaining system to make adjustments in premiums and co-payments.

Municipalities are asking the state Legislature to pass a bill that would give them similar power.

Unions say changes should be made only through negotiation.

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