Benefits For Retired Public Employees In Budget Trimmers' Sights

Miami Herald: "The [Florida] House dropped its plan to save $224 million by eliminating a monthly health insurance subsidy for about 300,000 retired public employees, many of them politically influential former teachers, police officers and firefighters. Axing the health subsidy for retirees had enraged public employee unions and Democrats, who accused Republicans of breaking a pact with public workers. The idea also was seen as a sure-fire veto target by Gov. Charlie Crist, who's relying on support from teachers in his uphill fight to win a U.S. Senate seat" (Bousquet and Caputo, 4/21).

Omaha World-Herald: Omaha city leaders aren't free to ignore their contractual obligations to retired employees by making retirees pay more for health benefits, the city's employee unions say. "They made a promise to people," said John Corrigan, an attorney who represents Omaha's police, fire and civilian unions. "The city obviously is taking an action that is going to engender legal challenges." The city's mayor has said he wants retirees to pay $1,000 to $8,400 more for health insurance (O'Brien and Goodsell, 4/20).

Arizona Daily Star: "The Pima County Board of Supervisors ratified the decision that Administrator Chuck Huckelberry made earlier this year to remove the retirees from the health plan. By shifting those retirees who are not yet eligible for Medicare to the state retirement health insurance plan, the county will save millions of dollars on premiums for employees for the next two years, Huckelberry said. Existing county employees will no longer have an HMO option, based on the supervisors' 3-2 party-line vote Tuesday. Employees will have the option to enroll in the existing PPO or high-deductible plans, or shift to a new high-deductible plan" (Kelly, 4/21).

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