Union-owned insurance company threatens to cancel health coverage for 350 teachers

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PONTIAC, Mich. – At the beginning of this year, there was concern that the Pontiac School District wouldn’t be able to afford toilet paper for the schools’ restrooms.

Payment-DueThe district’s financial situation has only gotten shakier each subsequent month. Things are so bleak for the Pontiac district that Michigan officials may soon force the school board to choose between declaring bankruptcy and turning control over to the state, reports The Oakland Press.

But the district’s health insurance provider – MESSA, which is owned and operated by the Michigan Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union – couldn’t care less.

MLive.com reports that MESSA officials are demanding the district pay the $8 million it owes the insurance company for missed premium payments by July 31. If school doesn’t pay up, MESSA officials say they will cut off health insurance coverage for the district’s 350 teachers.

The unionists are making this heavy-handed demand despite a recent court ruling that allows the district to repay its MESSA debt over 10 years, notes Michigan Capitol Confidential.

Pontiac Education Association President (and MEA member) Aimee McKeever defended MESSA’s seemingly irrational demand.

“I don’t know of any other business in the business world that can just wipe their hands clean of an $8 million bill of money owed to them,” McKeever told MLive.com. “How many businesses would continue to provide goods and services if they haven’t been paid?”

Fair point.

Of course, the MESSA insurance company isn’t like many other businesses we’re familiar with.

While other businesses have to keep prices down in order to stay competitive, MESSA doesn’t.

Instead, MESSA offers some of the most comprehensive – and expensive – coverage a teacher can get.

The company does this because it knows Michigan’s unionized teachers will use collective bargaining to demand insurance coverage the union-owned company.

The MESSA folks have benefited nicely from this cozy arrangement. According to Capitol Confidential, the group had $1.24 billion in revenue for 2011.

It wouldn’t appear that MESSA will go out of business if the Pontiac district is allowed to go on a payment plan. So what’s all the fuss about?

Our guess is that MESSA’s money push is driven by simple greed.

It wants its money now and is willing to have students and taxpayers suffer the consequences.

The company has every right to get its money from the financially traumatized district and its beleaguered taxpayers. If that’s how MESSA officials want to behave, go for it.

But, for the simple sake of decency, let’s have the MEA drop its phony claim that it has the best interests of the children and public education at heart.

It’s just not believable anymore.

By Ben Velderman at EAGnews.org

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7 Comments
  1. $12994363 says

    So, let the teacher’s go without. They can pay the premiums under COBRA out of their own pockets instead of sticking the taxpayer with it.

  2. JT1964 says

    Looks like Michigan is going to have to do the same thing that Wisconsin did and eliminate the “MESSA only” insurance from collective bargaining. I know that it saved the school district of Ashwaubenon(by Green Bay) approximately $1.1 million for only a year of coverage. This is a fairly small school district, but the competitive bid system is doing some REAL good. Teachers are a good thing, but unions do nothing but rob from the American citizen every time they are involved in anything type of “collective bargaining” in the public sector. Although there was some “wailing and gnashing of teeth” by the unions, the Wisconsin Plan is the only way to take care of the problem. The idea that paying everyone the same wage, based on education level rather than the quality of the product and efficiency of doing the job with skill, is a train wreck that we are all too familiar with. Get on with it Michigan!!

  3. foxxybey says

    I wonder if the union owns a company, are they made to live up to the same tax laws and other companies or do they give under the union name or the company name?

  4. hitthedeck says

    You can believe if an independent audit was done on the Union’s books pertaining to the portion of dues or premiums that was supposed to go to health insurance it would find that the Union thugs at the top of the dirty mop have skimmed of a big lump of money off the top and stuck it in their pockets.

  5. scott says

    Typical union madness. Where does all this garbage stop.

  6. shannon853 says

    so when does start to become a standard to keep giving coverage to any one or business/district when it is plain the business/district continues to get further and further in debit? the idea of a business is to stay in profit or at least break even from doing business with that business/district. sure the company has a profit but it does not make business sense to loose on one business/district and in effect force others to pay more to cover their losses on a business/district that can not operate as it should. would you want to keep doing business with someone that cuts you from making what you should from them? aqnd just how big must a bill get before it is proper to drop them as a business you provide for? would teh district do teh same if the tabkles were turned qand they were the ones loosing and a big bill had piled up?????

  7. simpletony1 says

    The liberal ones deserve it

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