Councilman Adam Hertz did an analysis showing the city of Missoula could save an estimated $1.6 million if health premiums here more closely tracked the national average.
Here’s the “Health Contribution Analysis” from Hertz and his comment on Facebook.
“A lot of hard work went into this analysis, and I was met with some resistance in trying to get solid information on our city’s health plan. If the City of Missoula has a ‘Chevy’ plan as described by the Mayor, then Blue Cross Blue Shield must be offering the ‘roller skate’ plan.”
Some people worry city staff can hardly afford flip flops. Councilwoman Cynthia Wolken said she is concerned with employees at the lower end of the pay scale and shifting costs onto those with the least ability to pay
It’s no big secret the City could reduce its budget by slashing employee benefits. For example, we could force my committee secretary, who barely makes a living wage, to pay the equivalent of a monthly mortgage payment just to buy health insurance for her family (not including the co-pays and deductions required for actual health care).
Heck, in this economy, we could probably even slash wages below a living wage and desperate folks would still apply. So should we stoke the fans of resentment and jealousy and go back and forth with the private sector to see who can squeeze their employees the hardest? Or should we treat our employees with dignity and fairness and advocate for the same for everyone?
Either way, it seems like Hertz’s data is valuable for people who will negotiate union contracts in the future. The police and firefighter agreements are a large part of the city budget.
The picture? It’s from an excursion I took this morning. If you can ID it, I will give you a prize.
– Keila Szpaller