Thursday, December 15, 2005

Health Insurance Companies sock away hundreds of millions more than they will ever need...

A link to the SR article this morning.

Remember how we were told much of the city's budget woes were because of rising healthcare costs? Remember how we laid off firefighters because of budget woes? Well, this article should be the beginning of outrage by city governments all around this state. I wonder if it will.

Earlier this year, we pointed out to the city that Local 29 negotiated a very modest increase in our healthcare premiums for the LEOFF Trust plan. We suggested the city do the same thing. The city could have saved taxpayers a bundle. They could have kept layoffs from coming, perhaps without any increase in taxation to the city. Instead, the city decided to just take whatever increase Premera or GHNW had slated. All the folks of a particular political bent who continually talk about the benefits of competition and the wisdom of the "free" market simply said "no thanks," when it came to demanding some competition between insurance companies for our city tax dollars. How strange.

I know the Spokesman-Review is busy investigating the AMR stuff, and rightfully so. But there may be even a bigger story here. The questions that need to be answered are:

1. Why wouldn't an entity with a million? ten million? a hundred million? dollars worth of health insurance business not shop around?
2. How much money did employees and the city pump into GHNW and Premera via premiums? How much did these companies expend in healthcare? What's the difference between the two numbers?
3. If there's this kind of money to be made, without any oversight, in regards to gouging, why doesn't the city underwrite its own policy?
4. Who's in charge of making sure the city gets the best deal in insurance and other expenditures? What happened when we suggested that they shop around for more competitive insurance companies?
5. If this is the deal insurance companies get with the city, what about road construction, general contracting, etc.?

What gives?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Local 29 Election Results

Debit Day Donation (the giveback)
Yes - 137
No - 54

Dental Plan
Yes- 143
No - 45

Emeritus status
Yes- 174
No - 19

Haff - 167
Gonzalez - 131
Wisniewski - 123
Staggs - 109