Monday, June 28, 2010

Kulongoski: public employees paying part of health care costs “is just fair”

From the Q & A time after Governor Kulongoski's speech at the City Club on Friday:

52:45-53:15 [time code] Question:
Thanks for your remarks governor . . . particularly raising the issue of health care costs and you talked about your proposal to shift part of those costs to employees, but I’d like to hear your thoughts as well about what the state can do to control costs so that double-digit increases in health care just aren’t part of the normal way that we do business. What do you think you can do in the next six months and what would you recommend to the legislature and your successor?
53:15-54:55 Gov. Kulongoski:
You know, let me rephrase something you said in the beginning. You always make it sound like it’s a negative to ask people to share part of the burden of picking up the cost. I just think it’s fair.

I’m not doing anything that’s onerous or anything else. It’s just saying you should have an interest in holding health care costs down. If I pay them all for you, you don’t have much of an incentive. That’s first, so I think what I’m asking is just fair.

Second, actually the PEB board probably does as well as any group in the state in holding down health care costs. What I’m asking is that if you take an interest and you’ve got a financial stake in it yourself, you are going to look at the programs that the Reset Cabinet suggested be on the table things like: non-smoking, obesity–all these things. I think you’ll pay a greater interest in it.

Let me suggest that in the end the state always wants to be a good employer–as every employer does, I truly believe that, but I also think you have to have policies in place that motivate people to have a self-interest in trying to keep the costs down themselves. And I think that’s what this is all about. As much as it is about is reducing the cost to government, it is also about taking personal responsibility.
Governor Kulongoski sounds like Governor Sarah Palin in calling for personal responsibility to fix tough budget and economic issues.

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