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Municipal Leaders Urge Changes To Law To Address Retiree Costs

This article is more than 8 years old.

Many cities and towns in Massachusetts say they need changes in state law before they can reduce a $20 billion shortfall in the retiree health care costs they expect to have to pay.

The $20 billion liability was identified in a report out Tuesday from the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. It recommends a state law that would require all retirees to sign up for Medicare and increase the age of retirement.

Massachusetts Municipal Association Director Geoff Beckwith says lifting a state requirement that cities and towns must have union approval before they can change members’ health insurance would help.

"To let cities and towns increase the co-pays and deductibles," Beckwith said. "The state does this without bargaining with unions. The federal government, they don’t bargain at all with employees over health insurance."

Legislative leaders say they expect to take up several bills this session aimed at reducing municipal health care costs.

This program aired on February 15, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

Martha Bebinger Twitter Reporter
Martha Bebinger covers health care and other general assignments for WBUR.

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