2011 SEBAC Agreement: Thoughts on Voting (heck) No ! ! !

Maybe it’s time for “the stuff to hit the fan” for everyone…not just State Employees. The economy of this state will  not change until the whole picture is taken in and analyzed. Specialized long term donations from 45000 will not resolve the problems Connecticut faces….but only placate a public that already has a negative perception of State Employees. No matter which way the vote goes the public view of State Employees will remain the same, and in fact, a yes vote could make it worse by having the public thinking that we don’t even deserve our jobs. That’s the consequence of public service for everyone involved!  
Carefully made cuts  to programs where money is wasted  are what is needed. Please …did anyone know that one of the plan B cuts at DSS is the continued elimination of the “casino bus run” see here (http://www.andr.org/New_Folder/News/MallCuts050611.pdf) . (think your own thoughts on that!)
 
IMO…Special Interest Groups like the Universal Health Care Foundation of Ct. should not be allowed to influence State Policy (SustiNet/Healthcare Pooling), whether SEBAC considers this a conflict of interest or not, from my perspective it is. 
SEBAC apparently doesn’t see having Dan Livingston, Chairman of the Board of CHART ( The parent organization of the Universal Healthcare Foundation of Ct.) performing State Employee Union negotiations on our health benefits  as a conflict of interest, as unions in SEBAC support Universal Healthcare, and have received grants to support the education and promotion of universal healthcare   through “Organizing and Advocacy Grants”  http://www.universalhealthct.org/grants-grants.php  to”Inform and engage individuals, small businesses, health care providers, and communities of faith, advocates, labor, and other key constituencies to participate in a collective call for quality, affordable health care for every Connecticut resident. The main focus of these groups was on state health reform, with some grantees also providing education and mobilizing individuals and groups regarding federal health care reform” from their website.
 
However….As individual union members,you or I may not think that way or support universal healthcare, or any other organizations with political motivations that may be supported by SEBAC. So specifically applied to this scenario….SEBAC’s interests might clash directly with the interests of many union members!
 
Real “concessions” are temporary…. meaning  jobs cut by lay offs, that later can be refilled, furlough days assigned, that can be removed and a 35 hour work week, that can be extended and funds restored to programs that are cut  … when (and if) the economy improves.
 The long term structural changes requested to our pensions and health benefits have resulted  from the “borrowing” by the past administrations who did not make the required deposits into our pension funds, in order to replace money from tax breaks handed out to banks and corporations, this money was never replaced  
Do not open the 2017 Agreement! It is  extremely unlikely ( I don’t like the word “impossible” but… ) that any Governor or adminstration will come in and offer us “more” in the future.
We may get hammered in 2017, or perhaps by then we will have less impulsive administration, but that is 6 years from now. I see no rational reason to give that up now.
 While my heart goes out to those who may suffer (including us!)…this decision has to be made on business level, using a logical thinking process….the Governor is making his decisions based on that model…you might want to do so as well.
 
I will be voting no … heck NO!
see update 6/5/11
https://wisdomovertime.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/1431/  for  more thoughts on voting heck NO!

2011 SEBAC Agreement: One year ago “Healthcare pooling” was called “European socialized Medicine”

 

 

 

 

Just one year ago:  “Healthcare pooling” was called “European socialized Medicine” by Sen. Dan Debicella

Senate Approves Two Controversial Healthcare Bills Saturday

The state Senate approved a highly controversial health “pooling” bill that would allow municipalities, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations to join the state employees’ gigantic healthcare pool.

In a rare Saturday session in the historic Senate chamber, the Senate voted 21 to 12, with three members absent, for the pool that has been opposed by Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell. Rell vetoed a similar bill last year, and her budget director has spoken against the bill this year.

Immediately after the pooling bill passed, the Senate began debating the controversial SustiNet universal health care bill. Democrats said that SustiNet is a progressive, forward-thinking system to vastly improve the healthcare system and will allow the state to become “Obama-ready” for the expected healthcare changes at the federal level. By contrast, Republicans derided the bill as the first step toward European-style socialized medicine.

Shortly before 3:30 p.m., the Senate voted 23 to 12 on strict party lines with 23 Democrats in favor and all 12 Republicans opposed.

Sen. Jonathan Harris, a West Hartford Democrat who summarized the bill on the Senate floor, said the current healthcare system needs to be improved because it is highly expensive. Every year, the current public and private health care systems spend $22 billion to cover the healthcare in Connecticut. The SustiNet plan, he said, will save $1.8 billion.

The bill, Harris said, covers the four biggest issues regarding healthcare – “cost, quality, access, and coverage.”

“We are picking a path,” Harris said on the Senate floor. “The final decision, or decisions, will be made by future General Assemblies.”

“SustiNet is a self-insured coverage system,” Harris said. “The delivery system is a very important piece of this. … Every individual in this state should be entitled to a primary care doctor.”

The bill calls for an expansion and improvement of electronic medical records “so we bring that country doctor with the bag from the 19th century into the 20th century,” Harris said. “SustiNet brings this to the table.”

HUSKY A and B and SAGA will be in a separate pool or silo, Harris said.

“This doesn’t push out the private market,” Harris said. “A level playing field will be established and there will be competition, which made this country great. … This bill does not implement SustiNet or any significant part of SustiNet. … The General Assembly must come back to the drawing board” to implement SustiNet.

“I want to be clear. Today, we are not legislating this to happen,” Harris said. “We will need to do more later. … We’re in this together, and we’re not going to succeed unless we work together.”

The bill sets up three task forces – on obesity, tobacco, and the workforce.

Obesity “is putting a major drag on the healthcare system,” Harris said.

But Sen. Dan Debicella, the ranking Senate Republican on the budget-writing appropriations committee, said the bill is both bad healthcare policy and bad fiscal policy. The measure would be a huge drain on taxpayers in the future that was not outlined in the bill, and plan would mirror “the gold-plated plan” that state employees currently have, he said.

“The bill before us today is not the answer,” Debicella said. “It is a path that will lead us to a bad policy” on government-run healthcare.

“This bill presupposes the answer,” he said. “The core of it is the wrong answer that we have presupposed. … The bad policy in this bill says that we are going to harm the 94 percent who have health insurance to help the 6 percent of us who do not have it. … It hurts one to help the other, and there’s a better way. The better is to focus on cost containment.”

Regarding how to pay for the plan, Harris said it will be decided by legislators in the future.

“The end-goal for the advocates is to have a European-style” socialized medicine, Debicella said.

Greenwich Republican Sen. L. Scott Frantz said that he applauds the concept of improving the healthcare, even though he opposed the bill.

“It’s a noble cause,” Frantz said. “The only question is: how do we get there?”

Three ways of reducing costs include medical malpractice reform, reducing tobacco use, and reducing obesity. If all tobacco use was eliminated, the system could save 40 percent to 60 percent of the entire healthcare bill, Frantz said. If obesity was eliminated, the system would save another 15 percent to 25 percent.

“I’m not sure government can take care of every need,” Frantz said on the Senate floor.

Sen. Edward Meyer, a Democrat, said he has “had issues” with SustiNet, but the plan makes improvements on cost, quality, and access – three important issues in health care.

“SustiNet will give us further choice,” Meyer said. “It is the major game in town. It’s something we have to consider.”

But Senate GOP leader John McKinney of Southport opposed the bill.

“The bill is much more than a study. The bill before us is clearly designed to implement the SustiNet plan,” McKinney said, adding that the SustiNet plan will likely cost $1 billion in 2012.

In Canada, the universal, single-payer system “has many shortcomings” in which individuals “are treated as expenses” who cannot get quick access to their doctors, McKinney said. “It’s not anecdotal. It’s true. … The system we have, for all its flaws, is much, much better. That’s why this is the wrong bill at the wrong time.”

Sen. Edith Prague, a Columbia Democrat, said, “The uninsured are not getting their healthcare free. Each and every one of us is paying for it.”

While Republicans trashed the plan, Sen. Joseph Crisco said, “It really is a brilliant piece of work.”

Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, a New Haven Democrat, said the bill was “timely, patient-centered, and equitable. … By 2011, the board of directors that will be set up under this bill will have to make recommendations” on healthcare improvements.

Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams, the leader of the 24-member Democratic caucus, said, “We know there can be vast improvements in the delivery of healthcare to everyone who needs it.”

Longtime healthcare advocate Tom Swan said, “People nationally understand that this is a very big deal in the national debate.”

Universal Health Care Foundation president Juan Figueroa, a former legislator from Hartford, hailed the passage of both SustiNet and the pooling bill.

“Together, these two reform bills set the state on a path of health care and economic recovery,” Figureroa said. Business, labor, clergy and health providers are all on board. Now, we need the governor to lead our state through its health care crisis.”

2011 SEBAC Agreement: Health Insurance “pooling” planned (originally sustinet) “long ago” & pensions will change again in 2022

Part 1

The health plan part of the 2011 SEBAC Agreement was planned long before union “talks”  began. This is not a new concept, just new to most of us! 

 …See the below links

http://www.ct.gov/malloy/lib/malloy/6-Health_Care.pdf

 This is a very long report but well worth a scan (on page 49 you’ll find a letter regarding Healthcare System Change by Executive director of CSEA SEIU Bob Rinker). See how much went on “when you weren’t  looking”  …read through it  it…and you will no longer wonder why the media fills our heads  with reality shows ,talk shows, and junk news.  This is going on nationwide..”for better, or worse”

other links:

http://www.progressivestates.org/news/dispatch/obama-ready-public-health-insurance-plans-approved-ct-house

http://www.housedems.ct.gov/olson/pubs/CHP_clips_4-24-08.pdf

http://www.cga.ct.gov/2011/JFR/H/2011HB-06308-R00INS-JFR.htm

 Part 2

Anyone in tier 2 needs to say ABSOLUTELY NO to this agreement. Forget paying  3% begining in 2 years ! They are going to at minimum raise the age in 2022, and in order to have the deal in this agreement you will have to “buy back” 3 years, but will have to start doing so by 2013. wtf! So now it’s 3% plus( retiree health benies…plus an amount to be determined to buy into your retirement age… unless you want to work until at least 63!? 

from the agreement 

 4.” Current employees who retire after July 1, 2022 – The following changes do not
apply to individuals who retire under the Hazardous duty provisions of the plan.
Normal Retirement eligibility increases from Age 60 and 25 Years of Benefit Service
or Age 62 and 10 Years of Benefit Service to Age 63 and 25 Years of Benefit Service
or Age 65 and 10 Years of Benefit Service. This change affects all years of benefit
service earned on or after July 1, 2011. By July 1, 2013, current employees may
make a one-time irrevocable election to begin paying the actuarial pension cost of
maintaining the normal retirement eligibility that exists in the present plan which is
scheduled to change effective July 1, 2022. The cost shall be established by the
Plan’s actuaries and shall be communicated to employees by the Retirement
Division. Such election shall be made on a form acceptable to the Retirement
Commission and shall indicate the employee’s election to participate or not to
participate. In the event the employee fails to make an election, he/she shall not be
eligible to participate. In the event the employee makes a successful claim to the
Retirement Commission of agency error, the employee shall make payments in
accordance with usual practice.
5. Tier II, MA and Tier III Breakpoint – The parties will meet and discuss a modification
to the Breakpoint that will be effective for service earned on and after July 1, 2013.
The revised breakpoint will be designed so that the pension amount for individuals
earning under the current breakpoint will be increased. The cost of such change in
Breakpoint shall not increase the Employer Normal Cost more than .5% of payroll in
any year. The formula change and costs shall be provided by the Plan’s Actuaries. In
the event the parties are unable to agree on the revised Breakpoint, the matter shall
be referred to the arbitrator appointed under the terms of the Pension Agreement
and governed by the provisions of CGS sec. 5-278a and the terms of this agreement”.

Connecticut State Employees…it’s like SustiNet, but it’s not, but it sort of is, with a different name

Here’s the latest on the proposed State employee health care plan that will also allow the joining in by nonprofits and municipalities.   According  of the article…a public option is and is not planned….may or may not happen….you try figure it out!

http://www.ctmirror.org/story/12743/sustinet-compromise-bill-passes-house

                                              https://www.facebook.com/pages/Connecticut-Center-for-a-New-Economy/27935807063

http://www.ctneweconomy.org/

and the associated bill hB 6308 called: AN ACT ESTABLISHING THE CONNECTICUT HEALTHCARE PARTNERSHIPhttp://www.cga.ct.gov/2011/TOB/H/2011HB-06308-R06-HB.htm

http://www.cga.ct.gov/2011/FC/2011HB-06308-R000868-FC.htm

2011 SebacTentative Agreement: VOTE NO!

New State of Ct. Motto…Keeping you healthy, so you can work longer!

I will still be voting NO! Tier 2 Pensions are essentially gutted!

 here’s a link to the 2011 Tentative agreement from the inthistogetherct.org website….as typical they wait until the late Friday before a holiday weekend!

http://inthistogetherct.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/DEL_SEBAC_05_27_11_2.pdf

By the way the “health plan” was set up before “talks” began http://www.cga.ct.gov/2011/JFR/H/2011HB-06308-R00INS-JFR.htm

2011 SEBAC Agreement: Suddenly found $$$$$$$…wow…amazing!

New info from the Ct. Mirror…check it out!

“It almost sounds too good to be true: State budget officials, who already saw revenues surge by nearly $400 million over the past month, now say anticipated savings in retired worker health care costs have grown by some $100 million in the same period”

http://www.ctmirror.org/story/12733/last-minute-windfall-pops-retiree-health-care-account#comment-4783 by Keith M. Phaneuf

check out JonPelto’ Blog too. He agrees… we are “being had”

http://jonpelto.wordpress.com/2011/05/27/state-employees-%e2%80%93-you-are-being-had%e2%80%a6/

2011 SEBAC Agreement: SustiNet?/Pooling Plan?/ “The Plan with No Name”

You may hear in the coming days from your Union reps/Stewards claims that the insurance plan for State Employees they are trying to force on us is not  SustiNet. Ok then let’s call it.. “The Plan fomerly known as SustiNet. It’s being billed as a “value based plan” or “wellness plan”, or a “pooling option”. Yes, Husky, non Profits and Municiplaities will be invited to participate (Husky plans will be placed in it)

They cut the public option FOR NOW…and “renamed the concept”.   Union Leaders/ Negotiators are trying to separate themselves from their deeply held self interests in organizations and foundations involved in the creation of SustiNet and this SustiNet type plan.   See this —https://wisdomovertime.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/sebac-2011-and-possible-conflicts-of-interest-of-union-negotiators/

Of course there is NO ACTUAL Plan yet. The Tentative Agreement (when wwe get it) may show models, and what ideally the plan will look like, but without the ACTUAL Plan I would be paying for and be covered by infront of me in HARD COPY, I will not even give it a second thought!  Plans with United and Anthem are good until July 1, 2012….it’s after that we are being asked to accept  a “pooling option” with no name and we have no hard evidence to support the concept.

Remember…voting NO keeps your insurance plan and pension in tact until 2017 or until the next time the Administration screws with it!

VOTE NO !!!!!!! Here is a article that explains what happened with “The Plan Formerly Known As SustiNet”

http://gov.cbia.com/inside_the_capitol/article/sustinet-name-lives-on-sans-public-option

SustiNet Name Lives On (Sans Public Option)

May 17, 2011- Posted by editor in Healthcare

 

Governor Malloy reached an agreement with the Universal Healthcare Foundation of Connecticut on the SustiNet proposal — at least for this year. It follows the recent announcement that the governor reached a similar agreement with legislative leaders on SustiNet.

SustiNet was originally envisioned to be a state-run health insurance public option, utilizing the state’s self-insured government health plans as the basis for the program that would have been open to every company and individual in Connecticut – eventually.

It would have been a very risky move since the state itself (and not an insurance company) would have had to pay for the medical bills of participating patients, without knowing the risk-profiles of these individuals.

However, things have apparently changed. The agreement now calls for replacing the original SustiNet proposal with a scaled-back version of the perennial “pooling” bill. Under the agreement, SustiNet would open the state employee health plan to municipalities and certain nonprofits.

Noticeably absent from the agreement is the creation of a public health insurance option. However, the agreement also creates the Governor’s SustiNet Healthcare Cabinet, which would evaluate, among other things, the viability of a public option.

We are greatly encouraged about the details of the agreement. And we are hopeful that the new Cabinet will truly evaluate the risks, costs and benefits of a public option, and not merely rubber-stamp the proposal.

Also in the agreement is a new Office of Health Reform and Innovation that would centralize Connecticut’s efforts to implement federal reform and create a federally required health insurance exchange.

Congratulations to all those involved in crafting what appears to be a rational alternative to the misguided public option concept and towards implementing real healthcare reform in our state. — Eric George

 also   http://www.ctmirror.com/story/12603/sustinet-backers-administration-reach-agreement-plan-forward