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RUNAWAY HEALTH COSTS

Forget public, private gap, and work toward better benefits for all

March 3, 2010

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IN SUNDAY’S Globe, there was a front-page headline bemoaning the rising expense of health care costs to municipalities (“Runaway health costs are rocking municipal budgets’’). Sean Murphy focused on the generous benefits of the municipal systems, as compared to the leaner benefits that private sector employees receive. The argument is that stripped-down plans would be more cost effective for municipal budgets. Never mind that health care spending overall commonly sees double-digit annual increases and that neither our Congress nor our state Legislature has yet been able to significantly rein in those costs.

While there is a Race to the Top in national education circles, there seems to be a race to the bottom when it comes to providing affordable, comprehensive, quality health care. What if private sector employees started demanding public sector health care benefits? Maybe that would give Congress the momentum to push through legislation that would support more equitable health care benefits for all.

There may be some legitimate places to curb expenses, but overall, don’t we want to work toward more comprehensive, affordable health care for everyone instead of noting that public employees are unwilling to give up their benefits?

Linda Hanson
Arlington
The writer is a public school teacher.

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