A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Health Reform, Health Politics, and Municipal Health Care

Health Reform, Health Politics, and Municipal Health Care

July 14, 2005

Back in April, Sen. Pres. Travaglini included in his health reform proposal a change in state law regarding how cities and towns can alter their health insurance plans for municipal workers -- a change favoring cities and towns and limiting the power of municipal unions. Since then, state senators have received an avalanche of mail and calls opposing "section 7" more than any other part of the President's plan. The widespread belief is that section 7 will never again see the light of day.

Yesterday, Gov. Romney's new Health & Human Services Secretary, Tim Murphy, told municipal officials that the pending Romney health reform bill (now expected to be filed next week) will include new proposals to remove municipal health insurance from collective bargaining rules. Let's skip the disputable merits of the proposal and focus on the politics. Every member of the House and Senate knows both proposals will never move. Indeed, they will all reap political gain by killing it -- and its inclusion only guarantees an extended sideshow and distraction from the real issues related to health reform.

Smart -- canny -- keeping an eye on the ball? Or tin eared -- clueless -- not half as smart as they think they are? Jury's out.