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Report: Health Care Changes Saving Money For Cities

This article is more than 7 years old.

A report suggests that Massachusetts cities and towns are on track to exceed the estimated $100 million in statewide savings during the first year of new municipal health care rules.

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation said Wednesday that since the state law was passed last July, 91 communities have either voted to adopt it or have votes scheduled. The law gives municipalities more flexibility to make changes to public employee health insurance outside of the collective bargaining process.

"When you have plans that are as costly as the municipal plans have been, even making modest changes results in major savings," the foundation's Michael Widmer said.

Widmer said the biggest savings have been in larger cities.

"But proportionately, every community is finding that it gets some significant savings that will save jobs of teachers, firefighters, police officers, or other local employees," he said.

The foundation, an independent fiscal watchdog group, says nine communities that have implemented the changes anticipate $30 million in combined first-year savings. Twelve others have been able to save a combined $30 million by negotiating changes through collective bargaining.

Only two communities - Kingston and Easton - have voted against adopting the law.

The WBUR Newsroom and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This program aired on February 8, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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