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Health Care Debate

The debate on the health care is taking place right now. The senate could complete its debate today. Please pass this on to your members, and if anyone has an opportunity, please ask them to contact his or her senator with the following message: Call the State House 617.722.2000 and ask to be connected to your Senator or his/her staff.

1. Support the Pacheco/Barrios amendments that would protect your current benefits mandated by law.

Medical Condition Mandates. The Senate bill (S2266) includes a provision similar to the earlier filed bill (S2042) that allows insurance companies to sell policies to the private and public sector that do not provide coverage for medical conditions that the state law currently mandates be covered; e.g., cardiac rehabilitation, in vitro fertilization and hospice care, etc. Our view is the removal of mandates should not apply to the public sector employees and accordingly we are supporting amendments filed by Sens. Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton) and Jarrett Barrios (D-Cambridge) that will leave the mandate in place for public employees.

2. Support the Morrissey amendment that protects your health care collective bargaining rights.

Collective Bargaining * Clarification. Another section of the bill, in part, expands health care coverage to municipal employees who do not have health insurance. It requires the municipal employer to offer a health care policy to all employees, including those not currently eligible, i.e., certain part time employees. If the employee does not choose to participate in the employer-offered policy and has no other insurance coverage, the employee would pay for health care costs that he or she incurred.

The way this section is written, it may be interpreted to intrude on certain collective bargaining rights * although the drafter of the language assured us that was not the intent. To insure that collective bargaining rights are protected, we are supporting an amendment filed by Senator Michael Morrissey (D-Quincy).

If you are asked for additional information, refer them to an MTA lobbyist who will be available outside the Senate chamber.

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