Keller @ Large: Gov. Patrick Signs Municipal Health Care Reform Bill

BOSTON (CBS) – A new measure is bringing some relief to local communities struggling with skyrocketing health care costs for municipal employees.

The costs have been crippling city and town budgets for years, drying up funds for schools, parks, and other local services.

Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill this week to reform the municipal health care system.

“This is a very strong reform,” said Geoff Beckwith of the Massachusetts Municipal Association. “We’re very fortunate that the legislature and the governor did, after many years of effort and work and lobbying and advocacy on behalf of cities and towns, make a dramatic change.”

Keller @ Large, Part 1:

What can a city or town do today to curb health care costs that they couldn’t do before this bill was signed?

Keller @ Large, Part 2:

“Now, cities and towns can ultimately, they have to follow a process, but at the end of that process, they can change the co-pays and deductibles for their health insurance plans up to what state employees pay,” said Beckwith. “That may not sound like much, but they can do that regardless of what the municipal unions say. In the past, the unions were able to veto any change.”

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