In Michigan
5:13 pm
Thu September 3, 2009

House Committee begins healthcare pool hearings

LANSING, MI – A state House committee has begun testimony on legislation that would pool all state workers and teachers in one healthcare plan.

House Speaker Andy Dillon testified he is confident his plan would save nearly $1 billion. Consultants working on the plan with Dillon anticipate an economy of scale would drop administrative fees from $90 a month per employee to about $37. Some members of the Health Care Reform committee say those numbers seem abstract and they want to see concrete evidence of savings.

Democratic State Representative Tim Melton says there is room for concern this early in the process.

"Well there probably is, but I think also the estimates have been very conservative," he says. "I don't think they came in with the high number, they came in very conservative so they can defend those numbers. I mean if you look at just the cost savings that was mentioned from the $90 per month per employee cost to 37, I mean that's a substantial savings when you're talking hundreds of thousands of employees."

Committee Chairwoman Pam Byrnes would like to vote on the legislation before the end of the year. But she says she's not working with the intention of squeezing the plan into the budget for the coming fiscal year.