Public employee health care update

Late Thursday, the state House revised and passed Senate Bill 7, legislation dealing with public employee health care.

The House passed the bill with the minimum 56 votes required. Rep. Tim Melton, D-Auburn Hills, cast the deciding vote. (See how your representative voted.)The bill is substantially different than the version previously passed by the Senate, so it returns to that chamber for consideration. The Senate is on break until July 13.

Under the House-passed plan:

  • The amount that public employers could spend on employee health insurance would be capped ($5,500 for an individual employee, $11,000 for an employee with spouse, $12,500 for a single employee with children, and $15,000 for family coverage). Employees would have to pay any premiums above these levels.
  • Public employers could vote to opt out of the dollar cap if they wanted to do a cost-sharing plan in which the employer pays 80 percent of the cost of the plan and the employee pays 20 percent. This option would require a two-thirds majority vote of the local governing body.
  • Notably, all public employers EXCEPT PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICTS could opt out of doing either option.
  • The requirements would begin in January 2012 or after a collective bargaining agreement in place prior to the law expires.

The House failed to pass Senate Joint Resolution C to extend the requirements to public universities and state civil service workers.