In The News: Health Care

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Editorial: Cheers & Jeers

Jan 18 2013

Cape Cod Times

"While most of the recommendations are positive, the commission's recommendation to prohibit municipalities from ever adjusting their share of premium contributions once an employee retires is a major step backward," said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, in an email. "Such a change would erode the most important existing power that municipalities have for controlling retiree health care costs and create a huge roadblock to achieving greater savings."
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Editorial: State retiree health system needs major reforms

Jan 16 2013

The Boston Globe

The administration estimates its plan would cut the state and municipal unfunded liability for retiree health care from $40 billion to about half that. However, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation puts the state and local liability at about $47 billion, and estimates that the proposed changes would trim it by only about $8 billion.
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Patrick seeks higher health payments by retirees

Jan 11 2013

By Michael Levenson, The Boston Globe

Michael J. Widmer — president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a business-backed budget watchdog group — called the governor’s plan “a good first step.” “It is a real reform,” said Widmer. “We don’t necessarily agree with everything, but, as a general matter, these are positive recommendations that reflect the enormous liability that the state and municipalities face for retiree health care that they can’t pay fo
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Reforms to help solve our fiscal problems

Dec 7 2012

By Scot Lehigh, The Boston Globe

“Federal deficit reduction, a more slowly growing national economy, an aging workforce, and several other factors will produce a new permanent reality of tight state finances even in good economic times,” says Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.
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Doubts weaken health cost data

Nov 12 2012

By Chelsea Conaboy , The Boston Globe

The double-digit increase in 2011 prices in the survey doesn’t correlate with what seems to be happening in the insurance market, with carriers holding costs down and negotiating new contracts with doctors and hospitals, said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. “There’s a lot of other evidence that we slowed the rate of growth of costs,” he said.
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Taxpayer advocate says city health insurance deal not so sweet

Oct 28 2012

By Alex Bloom, The Enterprise

“It’s clearly a step in the right direction and the savings are meaningful,” Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said of the deal Mayor Linda Balzotti signed Thursday with the unions. “But if city officials had adopted the municipal health law, they certainly could’ve saved more.”
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Cost cut supporters see many ways to meet health care law’s goals

Oct 16 2012

By Andy Metzger, State House News Service / Westwood Press

Critics have also expressed concern over the methods of bringing down costs in earlier versions of the bill, though one such critic – Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Michael Widmer – said the final version was a big improvement. “The most onerous provisions in the House bill were not included in the final bill, which is clearly a positive step,” Widmer told the News Service. “So I think the final bill broadly strikes the right balance between setting an ambitious target for cost growth on the one hand, but giving the marketplace the flexibility to achieve that target.”
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Reclaiming Politics

Oct 4 2012

By Michael Gecan, Boston Review

And cost increases have been modest—far below the predictions of the law’s opponents. The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, an independent nonprofit research outfit, concluded that “additional state spending attributable to the health reform law accounted for only 1.4 percent of the Commonwealth’s $32 billion budget in fiscal 2011.”
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Fact Checking the Presidential Debate in Denver

Oct 3 2012

ABC News

Michael Widmer, from Massachusetts Taxpayer Foundation (non-partisan group) says both the Massachusetts legislature and Romney DID come together to get everyone in the state insured. They had the same goal and were successful. Yes, Romney put out the idea, but the legislature helped to craft the plan.
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Employee retirement costs crippling cities

Oct 1 2012

By Grant Welker, Sentinel and Enterprise

Though these benefits more than double the size of pension liabilities in most of the state's largest cities, according to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, they haven't been in the news as much or as debated as pensions. That's because they aren't as popular a benefit in other parts of the country, and because OPEB is just now getting to the point of becoming a critical issue as pensions were 20 years ago, said Carolyn Ryan, a policy analyst with the foundation.
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