Mass Retirees & Unions Would Gain Seats


Mass Retirees & Unions Would Gain Seats


NOVEMBER 9, 2017: For the second time in six months, the Massachusetts State Senate has approved a proposal that would grant Mass Retirees direct representation on the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC).


The proposal was filed by our Association as an amendment to S2202, An Act furthering health empowerment and affordability, which aims to gain control over rising healthcare costs. Joining Mass Retirees in backing the amendment was each of the state’s public employee unions and the Mass. AFL-CIO.


Senators Michael Brady and Cindy Friedman took the lead as the main sponsors of Amendment #87. They were joined by nine Senate colleagues as cosponsors: Feeney, Cyr, McGee, Boncore, Timilty, Gobi, Eldridge, O’Connor and Montigny.


Accepted on the 2nd day of debate on S2202, legislation that marks the state’s latest attempt to address health care cost, the amendment maintains the current number of GIC Commissioners at seventeen. However, the proposal restructures the GIC makeup by granting Mass Retirees nominating authority for the retiree representative, as well as by transforming two of the governor’s appointees to “labor seats”.


The Mass. Organization of State Scientists and Engineers (MOSES) and S.E.I.U. Local 509 also gain seats on the Commission the proposal. Both seats are created by transforming two of the current “public seats” held by the governor.


“We believe that this proposal brings balance to the GIC by granting a stronger voice to those who depend on these benefits. The current makeup of the Commission is anything but balanced, with the combined retiree / labor representation totaling just six of seventeen commissioners,” says Association President Frank Valeri. “Greater representation should lead to a more diverse and robust discussion within the Commission. And this should then bring about better overall policy decisions by the GIC.”


Members retired from cities and towns are reminded that policy decisions made by the GIC have a direct impact on local health insurance plans.


The debate will now move to the House of Representatives, where legislation is expected to appear early in 2018.

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