Three Minnesota House Republicans say that tentative agreements reached between Gov. Mark Dayton and two state employees unions are flawed.
Among their gripes is that union employees are on track to continue getting a good deal on health insurance.
“Some 50,000 state employees do not pay a dime for the premium on their generous state health insurance policy,” wrote Reps. Mike Benson, Keith Downey and Steve Drazkowski in their August 17, 2012 opinion piece in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “State employees who opt for dependent coverage pay roughly $130 a month in total to fully cover their families.”
That statement is correct, but deserves some context.
Minnesota’s branch of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE), which collectively represent more than 27,000 of Minnesota’s state employees, have reached tentative agreements with the Dayton administration to renew their contract.
At this point, the contract would include a 2 percent across-the-board pay raise.
The contracts would also preserve the current system set up for state employee health insurance: Individuals on the state employee health plan have their entire premium covered by the state, and families pay roughly $130 monthly in premium costs, according to Minnesota Management and Budget.
About 48,000 state employees are eligible for the health care plan.
So, the GOP trio’s statement is basically correct.
However, it’s important to note that state employees do pay for their co-pays on prescription drugs and doctor’s visits, and their deductibles. In fact, the contracts agree to an increase in those out-of-pocket costs.
Benson, Downey and Drazkowski get their facts right in the opinion piece. But it’s important to put those facts in context.
This claim leans toward accurate.
The Star Tribune, Unions get a great deal from Gov. Dayton, by Reps. Mike Benson, Keith Downey and Steve Drazkowski, Aug. 17, 2012
Minnesota Public Radio, Parry and his campaign become the focus of committee hearing, by Tom Scheck, Aug. 9, 2012
AFSCME Council 5, Public Employee Pay and Benefits, accessed Aug. 24, 2012
Data, Minnesota Management and Budget, Aug. 20, 2012
Interview, Jennifer Munt, spokeswoman, AFSCME Council 5, Aug. 24, 2012