March 22, 2011

Health Savings Account bill still bad in the House; support for Transporation budget; opposition for cost-of-living increase limits for PERS1

The bill passed by the Senate that would impose Indiana-style high insurance deductibles on state employees here should be stopped in the House.
That’s the message delivered by the Federation and others at Monday’s hearing on ESB 5773 before the House Ways and Means Committee.
The health savings account bill may initially attract state employees who are younger, healthier and without families to support, said Federation Lobbyist Alia Griffing.
But over time, “it boxes in the state and does nothing to actually reduce the costs but shifts them onto the workers across all state plans at a time when state workers’ paychecks and out-of-pockets are already going backwards,” she said.
The only state that implemented a health savings account for state employees was Indiana, she said. Far from being voluntary, employees were forced into the health savings accounts when costs for other state plans were artificially jacked up. Once in the health savings accounts, Indiana state employees saw those costs skyrocket, too, Griffing said.
  • The 2011-2013 House Transportation Budget fully funds the jobs of Federation Department of Transportation members. The union indicated support for HB 1175 at a Monday hearing before the House Transportation Committee.
  • The Federation joined with members of the Retired Public Employees Council of Washington/AFSCME to oppose HB 2021, the bill limiting cost-of-living increases for PERS 1 retirees. Federation Lobbyist Matt Zuvich said the PERS I retirees didn’t cause the budget deficit and it’s unfair “to solve the problem on folks who have made their payments.”

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