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Thu October 22, 2009
Discussion of Michigan insurance pool resumes
By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network
LANSING, MI – Lawmakers are again talking about a statewide health insurance pool for all state workers and teachers. The proposal was overshadowed recently by the budget negotiations.
Representative Tim Melton is on the committee overseeing the plan. He says over the past few weeks lots of misinformation about the insurance pool has been floating around the Capitol.
"You got billboards driving around the Capitol with lies on it," he says. "You've got news letters that have gone out with lies in it. I mean blatant lies - saying we're not going to cover dependant coverage. Where does that come from? You guys are smart enough that you can read, you read the bills. No where in there does it say we're going to get rid of dependant coverage for spouses and kids."
Many state-worker unions have expressed grave concerns that the insurance pool would eliminate collective bargaining, which allows them to choose their insurance plans. Melton says the pool would change collective bargaining only by limiting available options, but it wouldn't eliminate the bargaining table.