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State: Municipal Health Reforms Saved $175M In 1st Year

In the year since Gov. Deval Patrick signed municipal health care reform legislation, communities have saved more than $175 million in premiums, according to the state.

The reforms made it easier for cities and towns to join the state's Group Insurance Commission, or negotiate for health care savings with municipal workers.

State House News Service details:

Seventy-seven communities or school districts used the law to make changes to employee health plans or join the GIC, resulting in more than $78 million in employer and employee premium savings, according to the administration.

Another 50 communities have used the threat of the law as leverage to negotiate health plan insurance changes with local unions yielding $100 million in savings.

According to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, which was part of a coalition that backed the reforms, approximately $35 million of the aforementioned $78 million saved was shared with employees.

The foundation's president, Michael Widmer, said those savings translate into jobs.

"With the fiscal crunch facing virtually all communities, the dollars otherwise would've gone to health care and resulted in layoffs," he said.

Critics say the law has curtailed municipal workers' collective bargaining rights.

This program aired on July 11, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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