Seattle Times editorial endorses positive reforms for school employees’ health insurance coverage

The Seattle Times editorial board has come out in favor of bipartisan legislation that would reform the way school employees obtain their health insurance coverage. 

A proposal to move teachers and other school employees into the state employee health plan makes a lot of sense.

Senate Bill 5726 would not save the state money, but that’s for a good reason. The plan would add more people to the state insurance pool and make insurance more affordable for school employees with families. The state would pick up the tab for the difference, and school employees would pick up the benefit.

The editorial explains,

[Sen. Steve] Hobbs says his plan would save school districts money, make it less expensive for school employees to buy health insurance for their entire families and effectively give many people a raise because their health insurance premiums would decrease. Although many school districts offer affordable insurance plans to individuals, the family plans are out of reach for many school employees. Hobbs says his plan will fix this inequity.

Teacher representatives would negotiate statewide for this benefit as participants in a statewide benefits panel along with other state-employee representatives. School districts and the teachers union should get out of the health-insurance business, and all school employees should have access to affordable health insurance, not just teachers in the best funded school districts.

An estimated 9,000 more school employees and 30,000 dependents would gain health insurance under this proposal. 

The bill, crafted by Hobbs, has bipartisan support and is scheduled for a committee hearing tomorrow. The idea makes a lot of sense.