LANSING, Mich. — A new bill intended to rein in government spending on public employee health care plans is headed to Gov. Rick Snyder following House and Senate approval on Wednesday, according to The Detroit News.

If Snyder signs it, the legislation would cap public employers’ contribution toward employee health insurance at $5,500 for an individual, $11,000 for a couple and $15,000 for a family plan, The News reported. Alternatively, the employer and employee could split the cost 80 percent to 20 percent, respectively, according to The News.

The measure would apply to municipalities, counties, school districts, the Legislature and other public entities, The News reported, but not to state workers under the authority of the Michigan Civil Service Commission.

Local government entities and school districts that refuse to enact the caps could lose state funding, according to a separate report by The Associated Press. However, a city or county could opt out of the mandates and still retain all state funding if two-thirds of its governing body agrees to do so, AP reported. School districts are not allowed to opt out, according to AP.

“For too long, (public employee health care) has been like going to a grocery store with your shopping cart and picking everything you want off the shelf,” said Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, according to The News. “Now we have to be aware of what we are spending.”

“It's an act of big government to impose its will on small governments,” Sen. Coleman Young II, D-Detroit, said Wednesday, The News reported.

SOURCES:

The Detroit News, “Health care cap for public employers sent to Snyder,” Aug. 25, 2011

The Associated Press, “Health care spending cap seen as another blow to unions,” Aug. 25, 2011

FURTHER READING:

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Benefits in Balance

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