State health plan details released

LANSING, Mich. - Public workers would receive health care under one of an array of plans crafted by the state employer under a proposed statewide health insurance system, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The proposal, by House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford Township, would require the state employer to draft a series of health plans with varying coverage levels and costs, and to negotiate with insurance companies to provide services. It would require all levels of government to negotiate with their respective employees over which plans to choose and how to pay for them, the Free Press reported.

Dillon released details of the plan Friday. He has said it would save up to $1 billion, according to the Free Press, though employee unions dispute that number.

The proposal might require insurance plans to include wellness and disease prevention programs as a cost-saving measure, the Free Press reported.

A special House committee is expected to begin debate on the plan this week, according to the report.

The bill would cover all public workers, including the governor, Legislature, judges, teachers, police officers, firefighters and state employees. All units of government would pay premiums into a state fund to cover costs for the entire program, the Free Press reported. Local entities could opt out by proving their existing insurance plan was cheaper.

Detroit Free Press, "Details emerge on Dillon's state health care plan," Aug. 29, 2009

Michigan Education Report, "On Balance, School Health Insurance Proposal an Improvement," Aug. 4, 2009