Monday, May 17, 2010

Extra Info for Thursday

Before the City Council meeting, Thursday May 20, the Council will hold a work session which is open to the public. The purpose of the session is to see a presentation on the Medical Trust plan offered by the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns. While such plans have a track record of controlling medical insurance costs, one of the largest expenditures for municipal government, it is a newly available option in Indiana. In recent years New Albany has spent in excess of three million dollars annually to offer this important benefit to its employees. Many health insurance plans were hit with premium increases in the 20% range. You may recall some plans in California asking for increases near 40%. Increases at these levels are unsustainable and threaten the very notion of employer-provided health care. Personally, I have no affinity for employer-sponsored health insurance anyway, but that is the box we are in for now.

The linked article on the IACT Medical Trust points to increases in the mid single-digit range, still an increased cost, but significantly less onerous than what may have hit municipalities in other health insurance plans. If we can find a way to offer comprehensive health care benefits to City employees, while limiting cost increases, other vital City services may not feel the sting of budget cuts, or at least those cuts may not need to be as deep.

It is time to look for better options than we have currently.

I would encourage any who are interested in fiscal responsibility to attend this meeting which I am sure will be informative.

It will begin at 6:00 PM in the Assembly Room, the regular Council chamber.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dr. Stone's Unfinished Business

Early last year the New Albany City Council looked at the issue of universal health care. It passed a resolution in supoort of single-payer health coverage for all U.S. citizens. With that vote, New Albany became only the third city in the state to join many other cities across the nation in support of this basic human right. The presenter at that meeting was Dr. Rob Stone the director of Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan.

Although a health insurance reform bill was passed, Dr. Stone continues to work for universal coverage. In an article published Wednesday in The Huffington Post, Dr. Stone said, "That's why we say, Healthcare Reform, We're STILL FOR It... and we're not done yet."