Hearings to begin next week on Dillon health plan

LANSING, MI – House Speaker Andy Dillon has released a draft bill outlining his plan to save money by putting all public employees into a single insurance pool. The top Democrat in the state House says he expects hearings to begin on the plan next week.

Administrators and representatives of public employee unions would be among those serving on a board that would come up with a menu of plans. State and local governments, school districts, universities and other public employers would choose which plans to offer their workers. Then, they would bargain with unions over co-pays, premiums, and coverage. A preference would be given to plans that reward quitting smoking and other healthy behaviors.

Dillon says taxpayers can save somewhere around a billion dollars by pooling 800,000 public employees, retirees and their dependents into a single health care pool. It would cover everyone from local police and firefighters, to salaried state workers, the governor, legislators, and judges.

Public employee unions were skeptical of the idea, but say they'll spend the weekend examining the bill.