Romney Vetoes State Insurance Funding

July 9, 2006: Those Under 65 Would Pay 25% - Governor Mitt Romney has vetoed language and funding within the FY2007 State Budget that, unless voted down by the Legislature, will raise the insurance contribution rate for some retirees and all active state employees to a 75-25% split, rather than the current 90/10 and 85/15 splits. The move would only impact those retirees insured through the state Group Insurance Commission (GIC) who are under age 65 and not yet enrolled in Medicare.

Romney, who had included a similar proposal in his budget proposal last winter, has repeat ably targeted the GIC run state health insurance plan since taking office in 2003. The governor also vetoed language under outside section 104 of the budget that would create a special insurance task force charged with completing a comprehensive review of the current insurance benefits offered by the GIC. Inserted in the budget by Senate leaders, the Association would be one of a handful of organizations with a seat on the task force.

With less than three weeks remaining in the formal legislative session, House and Senate Leaders are expected to act promptly to override a number of Romney vetoes, including both health insurance related items.

Also on its way back to the governor’s desk, is S2462 which contains language granting the veteran’s bonus to accidentally disabled state and teacher retirees, along with a section allowing so-called “03” employees to buy back up to four years of creditable service. Last Thursday the governor sent the bill back to the Legislature with an amendment striking the “03” buyback. Using flawed logic, Romney claimed the buyback was a “giveaway” that could not be justified.

“It is not surprising that Governor Romney continues to attack public retirees and employees at every turn. The amendment to S2462 was soundly rejected and we expect the health insurance vetoes to be overriding in a bipartisan fashion as well,” said Association Legislative Liaison Shawn Duhamel. “The governor’s moves are so out-of-line that his own party does not even support him.”