State-Run Health Care Plan Should Be Off-Limits To Younger Employees, Think Tanks Argue

MacIver Institute, National Center For Policy Analysis Argue State-Run System Should Be Closed To New Workers, People Under 45


A pair of conservative think tanks say the state Legislature should require younger public employees to use health savings accounts instead of the state’s current health insurance system.

A report by the Wisconsin-based MacIver Institute and the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis largely praises the state’s pension system, but says that as more employees retire and health costs increase, the unfunded liabilities of the state’s public employee health insurance plan will only grow.

Researcher John Graham said that the existing insurance plan should be closed to new employees and that people under age 45. The plan, he said, should be replaced by mandatory health savings accounts.

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“Once it gets done and the actual employee and the actual retiree see that they’re controlling more of their health-care dollars, they accept it and they find it empowering,” Graham said.

Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig calls the report a solution in search of a problem, saying it would merely shift more of the financial burden of health care onto employees.

“Their same report also concedes that this is going to shift a lot more of the financial burden onto the employee,” Craig said. “That’s the rationale for doing it. So to then turn around and say that it’s empowering because you control your own account, I think it’s misleading.”

Under the budget the governor signed last year, the state will start offering optional health savings accounts to its workers in 2015.