As state government’s rank-and-file employees consider the package of union concessions their negotiators reached with Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy, rumors are circulating the deal is somehow linked to the controversial SustiNet health reform proposal.
SustiNet as envisioned by its supporters would have established a state run insurance program – a so-called public option – in Connecticut. But Malloy, a Democrat, opposed major pieces of the proposal. The House of Representatives Friday passed a greatly watered down public option-less SustiNet bill which now heads to the Senate for approval.
Despite that fact, at least one e-mail is being circulated among state workers urging they vote down the concessions deal with Malloy in part because it is allegedly another way to establish SustiNet.
“Obviously this was some back door deal done months ago by the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) and the state without our knowledge,” reads the e-mail. “Get informed before you vote, as our union … has been lying to us that this is not SustiNet.”
Mark Ojakian, the deputy budget secretary who served as the governor’s lead negotiator with SEBAC, said today he is mystified by the allegations.
“It’s totally not true. I can’t get more definitive than that,” Ojakian said. While there are some changes to copays and incentives encouraging public employees take better care of themselves to cut future health costs, Ojakian said there are no changes in current insurance plans or benefits.
“This is not SustiNet, this has never been SustiNet and never will be,” Ojakian said.
Fair enough. But since Ojakian is part of an administraton which is apparently in cahoots with union negotiators, I turned to Keith Stover. Stover’s an insurance industry lobbyist and has been a vocal opponent of SustiNet. If anyone’s worried about SustiNet supporters sneaking something through, it’s Stover.
Stover said he too has followed the rumors about a link between the SEBAC concessions and SustiNet. He dismissed them as conspiracy theories, joking that after reading one of the e-mails he felt the need to wrap his head in foil to protect himself from strange voices.
“I don’t even know where that would come from … Sometimes when you’re trying to kill a deal you throw everything you can out there and see whether something sticks,” Stover said. “I’ve lost no sleep over that.”
For those of you who are interested, here is the full e-mail I received promoting the SEBAC/SustiNet connection…
Fellow employees: Please vote NO on this offer! I have heard and seen the details. I would take a layoff before this lousy offer. We have a contract through 6/30/12. Retirement and medical changes are also not reasonable. We will not get the answers before we vote. Do not trust answers or opinions from the staff reps who are trying to get your union dues and keep their jobs. Their interests are way different than yours! Sal Luciano, president of Afscme, Council 4, also sits on the Board of Directors of SustiNet. It would appear that the Head Negotiator, Dan Livingston, is on the Board of Directors of CHART (Connecticut Health Advancement and Research Trust) of Connecticut. I’m not sure how the negotiations could have been considered to be “performed in good faith” and truly on the behalf of State Employees when at least two negotiators have what may be conflicts of interest directly tied to their Positions on Boards of Directors and their positions in negotiations for our State employees. (I do not know if these are legal conflicts of interest.)
House Bill 6305, Sustinet Bill, on House Calendar for 5/24/11.
Get informed before you make a decision, this is the “value health plan” that our union is pushing. There is not going to be any more Anthem or Oxford health plans. Section 5 of the bill gives the Sustinet Plan Authority the right to solicit bids and choose providers. Section 11: They have the right to “implement, modify and supplement the delivery system and payment reforms”. Also, “the bill directs the authority to strongly encourage the use of the patient-centered medical care by implementing primary care case management (PCCM) and patient-centered medical homes (PCMH) for Sustinet Plan members”. According to their Patient Centered Home Advisory Committee, as of March 9, 2011, there are only 82 PCMH’s in CT. Their own report states that “CT lags far behind neighboring states in the number of PCMH’s available to residents.”
Guess who else will be in the Sustinet Plan? Husky Part A and B, Husky Plus, and Charter Oak.
Also, this bill started in the legislature in February of this year. It clearly talks about the agreement between SEBAC and the state (Section 6 of the bill).
OBVIOUSLY, this was some back door deal done months ago by SEBAC and the state without our knowledge.
Get informed before you vote, as our union, CSEA, has been lying to us that this is not Sustinet.
And then VOTE NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Who came up with the idea to get prescriptions saved by out-of-state (CVS) mail-order? This is taking business away from Connecticut pharmacies and may cost small pharmacies their business!
I am Tier 2 and was supposed to get a 2.5% raise July 1, 2011 and then another lump sum in January, 2012. If this passes I will not get either. We have had zero & zero raises for the past two years. This offer is for 0-0-3-3-3 but the final 3 we may never see since it is after the no layoff guarantee ends. I would not be surprised if the state asked for concessions again in 4 years. Even if it does pass and we get the 3% raise eventually, it’s all a wash because we are going to be required to start paying 3% into our retirement anyway. So we will be even worse off then we are now.
ANYONE who plans on retiring by 7/1/2017 will be voting NO. Why jeopardize your existing Pension language including the COLA and your healthcare choices?
ANYONE in Tier2 & TIER 2a who PLANNED on retiring at 55 will be voting NO. Why jeopardize your existing Pension language regarding the EARLY RETIREMENT Penalty and other language including the COLA and your healthcare choices?
ANYONE in TIER 2 & TIER 2a who PLANNED on retiring at 60 or 62 and NOW will have to work the extra years will be voting NO. Why jeopardize your existing Pension language including the COLA and your healthcare choices?
The only thing we can bargain away and then get back later is jobs. Vote NO, healthcare and pension are LOST FOREVER once we give them up.
There is no reason to ratify this agreement. We have a contract through 2017! Do not be foolish. Furlough days would save money much quicker. We can do much better than this with Plan B, C or D. VOTE NO PLEASE
lets see where we stand… vote NO. Show them we mean business. Do not toy with our future. Protect our current contract. It’s ours.