Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Bob Gould: Public needs facts on pending state healthcare bill for retirees

To the editor:

Your “In The News” feature on the Politicking page (Gazette, Feb. 27) listed many bills pending in the state Legislature, but did not include a very important one that has been moving along very quietly.

HB59, “An Act Providing Retiree Healthcare Benefits Reform,” is now before the Joint Committee on Public Service. This bill was filed by Gov. Patrick as a “Declared to be an Emergency Law” as a result of the findings of the Commission to Study Retiree Healthcare and Other Non-pension Benefits.

I am not writing to discuss the pros or cons of this bill, but the lack of open discussion and availability of facts. This bill will affect thousands of employees and future employees of the commonwealth by reducing benefits and increasing longevity of service to obtain those reduced benefits. Due to this proposed legislation, my wife was quickly selected to retire from her job earlier than she had desired.

Why has this not been evaluated by the local press?

My wife and I have left voice messages and emails to discuss this pending bill directly to our representative, Peter Kocot. We have had absolutely no reply from him. He has been useless in this regard of trying to get information disseminated about this important legislation. As we citizens try to have more open government, it appears the rules are making legislation even more stealthy. If you work for the commonwealth, I highly suggest doing your research.

Bob Gould

Florence

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