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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 2, 2019 11:12 AM
From: Senator David G. Argall
To: All Senate members
Subject: School district health care consolidation
Rising health care costs for school districts are one of the main culprits behind local property tax increases. In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation to require public school districts to join regional consortia to purchase health care for their employees.

Thanks to the strong support for Senate Resolution 250 of 2014, the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee studied the potential cost-savings associated with merging school district health care plans into regional or statewide consortia. Their report, which was issued in December 2015, outlined several opportunities to save taxpayers up to $200 million annually by enacting commonsense reforms.

Several parts of the state have already established strong consortia that are saving taxpayers millions of dollars each year. This legislation would require all school districts to join their respective regional consortium.

The regions would be established by a state board consisting of the Secretary of the Budget, the Secretary of Education, the Insurance Commissioner as well as the Senate and House Majority and Minority Leaders or their designees, and appointees of the Senate President Pro Tempore and Speaker of the House of Representatives. The board would be required to hold public hearings all across the state to solicit input from the public, including school employees.

Under this bill, the new health care plans provided would be at a level consistent with the benefits currently provided to most school district employees through existing collective bargaining agreements in each region.

The board will administer the program in each region or will select consortia (new or existing) to manage regional health care plans through a competitive bidding process.

The goal is not to cut any current benefits – the goal is to save tax dollars and reverse the ongoing trend of rising school district property taxes plaguing homeowners all across Pennsylvania.

This legislation was introduced as Senate Bill 420 in the 2017-2018 Legislative Session and had the following co-sponsors: FOLMER, WAGNER, COSTA, RAFFERTY, AUMENT, MENSCH, and BROWNE.

Introduced as SB604