LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A push to curtail health care benefits for municipal retirees in Michigan is setting off a fight between those who say billions in debt can no longer be ignored and critics who contend it would cheat people out of coverage.
The new Republican-sponsored plan could be enacted yet this year. It aims to address $11 billion in unfunded liabilities.
Starting in May, newly hired municipal workers would no longer qualify for health insurance in retirement. Local governments could instead contribute to a tax-deferred account such as a health savings plan.
In many municipalities, retirees would have to pay at least 20 percent of the cost of coverage.
The debate comes as another retirement proposal — closing the pension system to newly hired teachers — is stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate.