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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 20, 2017 02:09 PM
From: Representative Thomas R. Caltagirone
To: All House members
Subject: Public Schools Cost Savings (Establish Statewide Health Benefits for Public School Employees)
I plan to reintroduce House Bill 1786 from last session. My bill creates the Public School Employees' Benefit Board, which would establish a statewide health benefits and prescription drug program for public school employees.

This issue has been bandied about in Harrisburg for some time but now is the time to act. In fact, in December of 2015 the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) released a study that found more than 85 percent of school districts already participate in one of 37 local or regional health care consortia across the state. These consortia range in size from 48,000 to a few thousand. These regional consortia are a step in the right direction but we can do better. This bill will create a similar system that has been in place for state employees. The economics are simple: bigger buying power will equal better quality healthcare at a lower price.

I understand past hesitation to move forward with this type of bill because it’s a big idea that fundamentally changes what we have always done. My bill will save a lot of money. In truth, based on the 2015 LBFC study, by 2020 we will save $216 million per year, $87 million through prescription drug savings alone. I consider over $215 million in saving per year to be significant and desirable to the taxpayer of Pennsylvania.

Unfortunately, we were not successful in passing legislation to reduce or eliminate property taxes, so reducing costs is what we are left with in order to hold the line on property taxes. I truly believe there could be even more savings than the study found and I hope you will join me and co-sponsor this legislation.

Introduced as HB1170