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Posted on Sun, May 19, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor schools employees to lose domestic partner benefits June 30

By Danielle Arndt

Previous coverage:

Teachers in the Ann Arbor Public Schools are set to lose insurance benefits for their same-sex and domestic partners starting June 30, as a result of the union opening its contract to take a 3 percent pay cut.

Just two things could prevent this from happening: a ruling on a grievance filed against the Ann Arbor school district, or a ruling on a lawsuit against Gov. Rick Snyder filed in federal district court that involves two Ann Arbor schools couples.


Ann Arbor Open teacher Peter Ways, pictured here with his partner Joe Breakey and their daughter, Aliza Breakey-Ways, said Breakey is set to lose health insurance coverage on June 30 due to a letter issued by the AAPS.

The change comes more than a month after the Ann Arbor Education Association ratified its new agreement with the district. That's when David Comsa, deputy superintendent of human resources and legal services, sent notifications to employees informing them that because the contract was amended, a new Michigan law prohibiting public entities from providing benefits to domestic partners had to take effect.

The AAEA unions for teachers, paraeducators and office professionals negotiated amendments in March to their collective bargaining agreements to help the district address a then-estimated $17 million to $20 million deficit for the 2013-14 academic year.

The ratified contract agreements — which included a one-year 3 percent wage concession — saved the AAPS $3.4 million and brought the district's projected budget shortfall down from about $12 million to its current $8.67 million figure.

In addition to helping the district with its financial crisis, a primary purpose of passing the amended contract was to ensure the agreements were safe from Michigan's new Right to Work Law. The five-year amendments were approved by the Board of Education the day before the law went into effect.

Right to Work prohibits unions from mandating dues from the employees they represent. The AAEA contracts passed in March amended various language in the bargaining unit's master agreement affirming the union has the right to collect membership dues.

But what union members didn't know when they voted to approve these amendments was that opening the existing contract would enact House Bill 4770, which Snyder signed into law in December 2011 and now is called the Public Employee Domestic Partner Benefit Restriction Act.

'Surprise' and a history of coverage

AAEA President Linda Carter said she and members alike were "very surprised" to learn about the letters from the district stating couples would lose their insurance benefits — including comprehensive medical, dental and vision insurance — as of June 30.


Linda Carter

Carter said district officials did not mention this possibility to the union's bargaining team during the negotiations.

"Neither side knew of the implications of the domestic partner law. ... It did not come up in discussions because we didn't open the entire contract for full-blown negotiations," Carter said. "We were really trying to get (the amendments) through — to be perfectly honest — because of Right to Work."

So, she added, the domestic partner benefits implications didn't even cross her mind.

The AAEA filed a grievance against the district on Tuesday pertaining to the loss of benefits and refuting Comsa's legal opinion that the law needed to take effect.

"We have our MEA (Michigan Education Association) legal staff working on this," Carter said. "We are in this for the long haul. We are going to fight on behalf of our members. ... We are hoping we can carve out a solution here. Our members have families, they have children, and we want to come to an amicable resolution."

The Act, according to Comsa's letter to the teachers, outlaws public schools and government bodies from offering benefits to anyone whom resides with a public employee and is not one or more of the following:

  • Married to the employee,
  • A dependent of the employee as defined by the Internal Revenue Code, or
  • Otherwise eligible to inherit from the employee under the laws of succession in the state.

Comsa wrote this prohibition applies when a collective bargaining contract or agreement expires or is "amended, expanded or renewed."

District officials said there are fewer than 25 people affected by the loss of benefits. Carter estimated that number at 14 to 18 people. However, she added this fight isn't necessarily about the broad reach or the impact, but rather it's about right and wrong.

But the Ann Arbor Public Schools is a proponent of domestic partner benefits, said district spokeswoman Liz Margolis.

"AAPS does not believe this is the right law for our employees and have done all we can to allow for partner benefits," Margolis said. "It is interesting that the governor does not think this law applies to university or civil service employees, but (he) has not come out with a statement about K-12 employees. Thus, we are required to follow the law."

Margolis said it is the belief of the district's legal counsel that the law effectively eliminated the district's "Other Eligible Adults" policy. The policy allowed coverage for a person 26 years of age or older, who is not a dependent or an undocumented immigrant, to be eligible for health benefits under an employee's insurance policy. Other requirements for receiving benefits under the district's policy were: residing together for 18 months, not married to another party, not related by blood and not a tenant or boarder.

"AAPS has worked tirelessly to allow for partner benefits, which we believe is the right thing to do," Margolis said.

The district has offered these benefits since about 1993, Carter said, adding AAPS followed in suit with this policy after a similar policy was created at the University of Michigan.

"We were pace-setters," she said.

Peter Ways, a teacher at Ann Arbor Open, is one AAPS employee affected by the district's decision to discontinue domestic partner benefits.

"I blame the legislature and the governor, not the district or the union," he said.

Awaiting a federal ruling

Ways and his partner of more than 20 years, Joe Breakey, are plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit that the American Civil Liberties Union filed against Snyder in January 2012, attempting to strike down the Domestic Partner Benefits Restriction Act. Slauson Middle School teacher Theresa Bassett and her partner, Carol Kennedy, also are named in the litigation.


From left, Carol Kennedy and Theresa Bassett stand with their sons Charlie Bassett-Kennedy, 12, Finn, 5, and Sam, 7, as they watch the Michigan Community Scholars Program's 5th annual "Circle of Unity" honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the UM Diag in 2011. Kennedy and some of the couple's children no longer will be eligible for health care coverage via Bassett's AAPS insurance as of June 30, 2013.

Melanie Maxwell I file photo

A federal judge heard oral arguments on the lawsuit in August of 2012. But there has been no word from the judge since then.

The teachers say they are dumbfounded it has taken so long for a ruling on the case.

"Many feel like many cases along these same lines are being delayed, (and lower courts) are waiting for the Supreme Court to rule," Bassett said.

After the Ann Arbor Public Schools letter was issued stating employees' domestic partner benefits would end June 30, the ACLU attorneys made contact with the judge and were told the judge would hand down a ruling before June 30.

ACLU Lawyer Jay Kaplan said if the judge does not rule in favor of the plaintiffs by June 30, all of the plaintiffs in the case, which include three other gay and lesbian couples from Kalamazoo and East Lansing, will have lost their benefits since the lawsuit was filed — and none of the employers have wanted to eliminate the domestic partner benefits, he added.

"The law has had unfortunate consequences thus far. ... There have not been any (employers of the plaintiffs) that have been in support of that (cutting the benefits)," Kaplan said. "The public employers want a diverse workforce, and they realize that they have to recognize the diversity of the families that work for them and that people that do the same work as their colleagues have a right to the same benefits, including health insurance. ... It's the right thing to do."

The biggest thing is the families and spreading awareness, Bassett told

"Some may not know that coverage doesn't end just for our partners, but also for any children that have not had the benefit of being adopted by the insured parent," Bassett said. "This is our case. But I did add our youngest as a dependent on my taxes two years ago, just in case this turned out negatively for us."

Bassett and Kennedy have six children, ranging from elementary school age to 25. The women have been a couple for more than 25 years and were legally married in California in 2008, according to the lawsuit.

Bassett has been an employee of AAPS for 28 years, while Kennedy has been self-employed as a day care provider since 1993, court documents show. Because Kennedy is self-employed, she does not have access to her own employer-provided benefits plan. Her family also has a history of breast cancer, making independent health care coverage for Kennedy and most of the couple's children very expensive, the lawsuit says.

Bassett said some of the AAEA members did take issue with the way the district and the union handled the loss of benefits. She said people did ask at the AAEA meeting about the contract negotiations and whether amending the contract for the 3 percent pay cuts would put the partner benefits in jeopardy.

"We were told no," she said.

She added the other issue was the letter Comsa sent came in an overall package of information regarding open enrollment for benefits.

"To many," Bassett said, "it is junk mail and gets tossed, as few of us are changing our coverage. We know that many did not read it and have no knowledge that the benefits end."

Kaplan and the teachers acknowledged the district has been very supportive of the lawsuit and has provided various affidavits and insurance information to the ACLU to help with the case. All parties are hoping for a favorable outcome in the ruling by the federal judge that will save AAPS employees' domestic partner benefits before they end June 30.

Comsa said in his letter to teachers in late April, "if there is a change that affects the Other Eligible Adult coverage you will be updated, however, in the interim, we are prohibited by law from providing the coverage."

Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at



Fri, May 31, 2013 : 1:25 a.m.

Again, nothing in ObamaCare helps reduce the premiums. When you add benefits to a policy, it raises the premiums. They said ObamaCare will lower our premiums, it hasn't. They said we could keep our insurance plans if we want to, now we can't. What other lies will there be in the ObamaCare? Actually, there is a lot of them, but too much to list. It is best for one not to drink the koolaid. It is ok to sip it for a taste to see what it is like, but you are better off going elsewhere. In other words, Sparty, you need to dig deeper to see what is really happening instead of regurgitating what the government puts out in a press release.


Sat, Jun 1, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

The $13.95 per member per month fee does impact the consumer. Are you now saying, Sparty, that the carriers are generous companies and they won't pass this cost on to the customer? That they will in fact eat these monthly fees because they are such great and wonderful companies? That's pretty funny. So you can continue to ROFL all you want, you seem to be pretty good at it :). But what the carriers are doing is passing these charges onto their customers. So yes the customer is paying these fees. This is what I mean Sparty when I say you have to dig deeper. You can't look at what the press releases say. You have to dig deeper and find out what the press release left out.


Sat, Jun 1, 2013 : 2:55 p.m.

Sparty, Here's what you said "Your claim that people using the Exchanges means that Taxpayers will be paying their premiums is laughable. The Exchanges are a shopping medium ... people will use them to select an insurer and program that best meets their needs and budget. ROFL." And here is what I said "Apparently you need to re-read the law. People who buy their health insurance through the exchange will receive a subsidy from the federal gov to help pay for their premiums based on their family income." I was not referring to ALL people, but those that qualify based on family income. In Cal, individual rates are down when compared to GROUP RATES. That's what the media is reporting. Did you catch that? When compared to GROUP RATES. But the media has also been reporting when compared to Inidvidual rates, they are going up. Even Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California said this. He said there will be "sticker shock." He said 1.3 million californians will see their rates go up. Are you calling him a liar? Type in "Did CBO say 7 million workers will lose their insurance under ObamaCare." And you will see all kinds of media, like cnn, Forbes, washington times, etc. reporting on this. And look at the February 5, 2013 report from the CBO itself. CBO says it but you say it's false, the news media reports on it, & you say its false. Once again, Harry Reid did say "Train Wreck". He said this during an interview in Las Vegas. On May 2, 2013 Huffington Post even reported on this along with other media. It's a simple search type "Did Harry Reid say Train Wreck." Deny all you want. And yes, we agree that Max Bacaus was the first to use it.. Sparty, I provided you all the evidence and where you can find them. I opened up the baby jar and used the spoon to feed you. What more do you want? If you don't look at the mountain of evidence that back up the facts, then there isn't much hope. You ca


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 10:40 p.m.

Sparty at 4:54 pm 5/27 "Maallen and AC, Covered California is the OFFICIAL Agency in California dealing with Health Reform issues and the Exchange there. They released the Official Premium Rates from all Insurers participating in the 2014 Exchange on Thursday, and it was widely communicated on National Media. You failed to do your homework." Sparty at 12:01 on 5/31: "False, if you read the posts, you would see that FINAL premiums won't be available until September." Which is it now Sparty?


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 6:49 p.m.

You're wrong about Harry Reid - it was Sen Baucus who made the Train Wreck comment and it referred to the implementation info available currently and not the program itself. You're wrong about rates not going down in CA ... it's been proven that they are going down significantly and it's been reported in National Media that it's the case. You claim 7 million will lose their employer based insurance, per the CBO and that is not the case. FALSE. I never said the Government isn't providing tax credits for ObamaCare. You said that everyone using the Exchanges would be paid for by taxpayers. I disputed that. Only taxpayers making less than 4 times the the poverty rate will receive tax credits. Others using the Exchange will not receive tax credits or subsidies from the Government, so your premise that everyone using it will receive Government support is WRONG. In terms of the per member fee you're talking about, that is a fee that is charged to INSURERS to cover the cost of operating the Covered California Exchange: Offering affordable high quality care is a critical priority for Covered California and is a main tenet of our financial plan and stated values. One goal of Covered California is to deliver value to consumers and constituents while ensuring fiscal solvency of the Exchange. In order to achieve this goal, Covered California will assess a nominal fee on products sold as Qualified Health Plans (QHP) in and outside the Exchange, and supplemental plans such as dental and vision in order to fund Covered California operating costs. Fixed charge per member per month to be set to approximate 3% of average premiums across all plans (e.g. if average premiums are projected to be $450, then the participation fee would be $13.50 per member per month.). You clearly don't know what you're talking about, inferring that this is a fee that MEMBERS WILL BE CHARGED. ROFL.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

So let me sum this up, you claimed Harry Reid never said "train wreck" and I proved you wrong. You claimed individual rates were going down in California for 2014 and I proved you wrong. You claimed that Peter Lee, Executive Director of Covered America never said individual rates are going up and I proved you wrong. You claimed that CBO never said rates will go up 10 to 13% under ObamaCare and I proved you wrong. You claimed CBO never said 7 million people will lose their employer based insurance and be forced onto the exchange because of obamacare and I proved you wrong. You claimed the taxpayers would not be subsidizing the premiums for those buying through the exchange and not only did I prove you wrong but you also proved yourself wrong by posting the government is subsidizing the premiums. Shall I keep going? But you want to rest your case on CBO numbers and predictions that have never in its history been accurate? So be it. Removing pre-existing barriers does not help reduce premiums. What it means is there will be more claims being paid out than premiums coming in. So, once the carriers know after one year of paying claims they will have a better understanding of what to charge for premiums in the following year. Again, this is just a tip of the iceberg! And according to the Department of Health and Human Services said "Up to one in five non-elderly Americans with a pre-existing condition – 25 million individuals – is uninsured." Since they aren't currently insured, don't you think they will want to get coverage once the exchange opens so they can have their medical conditions covered? Sparty, what's your opinion of Covered California charging a $13.95 per member per month fee for those buying insurance through the exchange? Assuming 2 million joins the exchange that will be $334 million! That's a lot of money that I am sure the government will not use wisely.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 4:01 a.m.

False, if you read the posts, you would see that FINAL premiums won't be available until September. So all the blather from you and AC is nothing but hot air, doomsday projections, etc. You've also skipped over your previously argued point about the number expected to use the Exchanges by the CBO, despite my accurate quoting. You supposedly indicated your sources were the CBO and HHS but that is impossible given your wildly inaccurate numbers, the same as your predictions on pre-existing condition usage on the Exchange. And there are a lot of things that will reduce premiums, e,g, eliminating pre-existing condition barriers, old age based rates, gender based rates, spreading costs across an additional 42 million people just to name a few things.


Thu, May 30, 2013 : 10:48 p.m.

So in review: Mallen cites the Desert Sun Newspaper,,,, Covered California 2012-2013 Status Report and 2014 Budget Proposal, LA Times, CBO, and Sparty cites an administration memo and press release with DHS PR. Thanks Mallen.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 2:32 a.m.

Thanks Arbor. I find it shocking that a person would say "it's not on the government's website so it must not be true." Even more shocking is that someone would go to the government's website to get all their information thinking that the government will tell them everything they need to know. As you know Arbor, when you start peeling back the onion of Covered California, it's not so great after all. And this is just the beginning, unfortunately.


Mon, May 27, 2013 : 8:48 p.m.

Maallen and AC, your numbers are false. To AC's point, California's premiums have been released and that information was communicated by Media throughout the Nation last Thursday. You failed to do your homework. You can pick your source, I chose but one. In terms of numbers of uninsured, the OFFICIAL estimate is still that 32 million uninsured will have become insured by ObamaCare. Where you are getting your data is beyond me but this number has been the number the number cited by the CBO for years, and is the number the President used in an interview last week. Maallen gives info about one insurer's rates in CA going up by 13% in CA. The agency in charge of all rates there indicates that they are ACTUALLY going down by between 29% and up by 2%. Nowhere was an agency listed as going up by 13%. The Congressional Budget Office released its new economic outlook yesterday (2/6/13) and predicts a slower start to enrollment in the new exchanges: 7 million people in 2014, down from 9 million projected in July. .... So again, Maallen, more false info from you. Your claims are ludicrous in the size of their numbers and your insistence of them. Using the CBO and HHS as your source, when you know the numbers are false is so LAME.


Thu, May 30, 2013 : 8:54 p.m.

In the 19 states included in the administration's analysis, about 9 in 10 will allow consumers to select from among at least 5 health insurance companies, according to the memo. At least 1 company wants to enter a state where it currently doesn't do business in about 3/4 of the states where the federal government will oversee a health insurance exchange, the administration reported based on preliminary information. Of the health insurers that applied to participate in federally run exchanges, 1/4 haven't offered plans to individuals before, the administration said. In addition to touting the number of health insurance companies seeking to do business with federally run exchange marketplaces, the Obama administration said that most people shopping for individual coverage will be able to choose from multiple products. Each health insurance company that participates in an exchange will sell an average of 15 different products in a state, according to the memo. On top of the state-by-state contracting being conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services, the federal government is negotiating with health insurance companies that want to offer the same products in multiple states. More than 200 so-called multi-state plans are being vetted by the Office of Personnel Management, the agency that oversees federal employee benefits. According to the memo, multi-state plans will be sold on exchanges in at least 31 states next year and will expand nationwide by 2017.


Thu, May 30, 2013 : 8:48 p.m.

More than 120 health insurance companies have applied to sell coverage through federally run marketplaces under President Obama's health care reform law next year, according to a memorandum released by the administration on Thursday. The federal government is wholly or partially operating so-called health insurance exchanges in 34 states, while 17 states will manage their own. People who don't get health benefits at work or who are employed by small companies can begin shopping on Oct. 1 for coverage that will take effect next year. The online or paper application process also will be the means by which individuals determine whether their incomes make them eligible for Medicaid benefits or tax credits to defray the cost of private health insurance. Obama has emphasized that the health care reform law will increase competition among health insurance companies for individuals and small businesses by introducing new health insurance offerings to the market. Although the federal government hasn't completed contracts with health insurers under the law, the early signs are positive, according to senior administration officials who briefed reporters at the White House. The administration memo includes preliminary findings from about 19 states, including some that are operating their own health insurance exchanges. Administration officials acknowledged that the number of health insurance companies and the variety and quantity of health plans available could be different than the early signs suggest and will vary from state to state. Final information about coverage options and monthly premiums won't be disclosed until the contracting process with the Department of Health and Human Services is complete in SEPTEMBER, according to the memo. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 7 MILLION people will be enrolled in health insurance through the exchanges next year, and 24 million will be enrolled by 2023.


Thu, May 30, 2013 : 3:56 p.m.

Los Angles Times on May 23rd said this: "Overall, state officials said they can't estimate yet how much rates will rise on average. Blue Shield of California, one of the winning bidders in the exchange, said its existing individual policyholders would pay about 13% more, on average, for coverage in the state marketplace." Also another huge impact is the actual network. How many doctors and hospitals are actually participating providers of the carriers selling in the Exchange. We already know that only 36% of Blue Cross of California's network is participating. Now on to the CBO: Back in February of 2013, up to 7 million people losing their insurance coverage through their employer because employers will drop their insurance was widely reported. The CBO released the report on February 5, 2013. Again, when has CBO ever been right in any of their forecasts? I believe this number will go higher, not in 2014, but rather 2015 and beyond once employers see they can shift the cost onto the government. Posted on April 5, 2013 under "Health Insurance Premium Spin" stated "The Congressional Budget Office did give an estimate, saying premiums on the individual market would go up by 10 percent to 13 percent on average because of the law" and also stated this: "When White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked about the Society of Actuaries report during a press briefing on March 27, he said the law when fully enacted would "result in average premiums that … will be lower in the future than they are today." Nothing in this law helps premiums to go down. The premiums have gone up and will continue to go up because of the law. Spary, I used a search engine to look all this information up. I used key words like "Did CBO say premiums will go up 10-13%?" It works the same way with any of the other topics I reported on and provided evidence for you.


Thu, May 30, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.

Oh Sparty, Where to begin? According to the Desert Sun newspaper at "Peter Lee said the "vast majority" of Californians will see their costs drop 40-90 percent through subsidies in the exchange. But he conceded that 1.3 million Californians who have insurance will likely see their rates rise about 20 percent." Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee conceded "There may be some sticker shock." According to "There will be some 'sticker shock,' as Executive Director of the California Exchange, Peter Lee, said in a press conference yesterday" according to the Again, can't compare indvidual rates to group rates which is what Covered California did. It is comparing apples to oranges. Oh, here is something else that CoveredCalifornia left out: Those insurers that are selling through the exchange must TERMINATE existing plans by March 2014 that aren't compliant with the ACA. But wait, we were promised that if we like our current plan we could keep it! These plans were grandfathered, but now California says you can't keep it! So now, premiums are going up, not down and we can't keep our current plan. Who would have thought the government would lie? That could help explain why only 13 carriers are participating when 33 actually applied. According to these rates aren't age banded anymore. So on top of the regular increases each year, you will get an additional increase because you are a year older. No more equal rates if you are between ages 40-44 for an example. And did you know that Covered California has a Per Member Per Month fee for people who buy their insurance through the exchange? It is set at $13.95 per member per month. I feel sorry for those that have kids! This is from the Covered California's 2012-2013 Status Report & 2013-2014 Budget Proposal released May 23, 2013. As you peel back the onion it gets worse.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 10:19 p.m.

Ah Sparty, the jacked rates were for 2013 - that would be this year. Since you mentioned decades, why don't you come back with a year, pick any year, when the three largest healthcare programs in CA jacked their rates up by 20% or more? And if you think 2013 rates have nothing to do with Obamacare and a big front loading by the insurers, I have some A123 stock to sell you. Following your logic, then the Covered California rates also have zero to do with Obamacare also.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 6:32 p.m.

Maallen, show the specific link for Mr. Lee's quote related to the size of the increase of individual rates for 2014. It's not anywhere in Covered California's site, nor available anywhere by search on the internet. Also, show the specific link where the CBO has estimated that 7 million will lose their employer based insurance, as that is NOT on their site. Please show the link regarding your claim that individual rates would go up by 10-13%. And, finally, just because some people may have pre-existing conditions doesn't mean that they will be forced to use the exchange ..... they will also be freed to enroll in plans through their employers, public associations, and other group plans, Maallen. Have you not realized that ??? I look forward to those SPECIFIC LINKS. It's quite ironic, the CBO links that I provide, you ridicule and say that the CBO can't be trusted with their projections but we should trust your CBO numbers that you so glibly provide WITHOUT links. And ArborComment .... once again, PREMIUMS have been going up in Health Plans annually for DECADES. That has nothing to do with ObamaCare. Where were you in 2000-2008 when they went up significantly? Regardless, they've gone up every year in HISTORY.


Wed, May 29, 2013 : 1:44 a.m.

Your "low rates" in CA?  Really? That low 1.8 % actually turns out to be 8% increase due to changes in deductibles. And if 8% increase still sounds reasonable for the June deadline for proposed rates for 2014, remember California firms have already raised rates THIS YEAR.  Aetna up 22%, Anthem Blue Cross up 26%, California Blue Shield up 20%. Train coming Sparty, and the bridge is out.


Tue, May 28, 2013 : 8:29 p.m.

Sparty, No matter how many times you say "rates are going down" doesn't mean they are going down. You do realize that Covered California compared Individual Rates to Group Rates don't you? That is like comparing apples to oranges. The Executive Director of Covered California, Peter Lee, said the rates are going up when compared to individual plans. In other words, when you compare apples to apples, the rates are going up. Furthermore, Blue Cross of California even says in the individual market their rates are going up 13% when comparing to individual market. And the only way it was kept to a 13% increase was because they are limiting their network and only making 1/3 of it available. It's funny how you say rates are coming down because the rate increase of 13% is lower than what was projected by "experts" so you are using that as "see rates are coming down!" Projections aside, rates went up 13% for Blue Cross in California when comparing the individual market of 2014 to individual market of 2013. What the government promised us was lower premiums from what we are paying now. So please tell me, is that happening? We have yet to hear from the other carriers besides blue cross as to how their individual premiums for 2014 compare to the indivdual premiums of 2013. Reality? Aren't you the one that said the taxpayers aren't subsidizing the premiums of those who buy their insurance on the exchange and then went ahead and posted how the federal government is going to subsidize individuals and families who buy insurance on the exchange? As a matter of fact you were ROFL.


Tue, May 28, 2013 : 6:30 p.m.

By the way, Maallen, Congrats at least by acknowledging that I was right about Covered California releasing premium rates last week. Ooops, you didn't do that did you.


Tue, May 28, 2013 : 6:27 p.m.

So in other words, you want me to trust your claims about your CBO numbers on certain issues but then to disregard the CBO claims on projected use of the Exchanges. I get it. You want to select which numbers you'll like and which you don't. You'll make up numbers and predict what will happen in 2015 and beyond, because you are experts, and all knowing, and you refuse to accept that premiums are coming down in States that say they are coming down and are publishing reports through the media saying they are. It's hysterical. California has published reports heavily saying their premiums will be significantly lower than projected and you still refuse to accept it. It's the biggest State in the country, so these lower premiums will affect MILLIONS. It's likely other States will have lower premiums as well, but you'll refuse to accept that as well. But I'm done playing your game. You're so far out of reality, it's like you're in an alternate universe. We'll see who is right at the end of 2014, 2015, and 2016 .... won't we ? ROFL, ROFL, ROFL. Will we be at GOP repeat attempt 137 by then ?


Tue, May 28, 2013 : 3:43 p.m.

In regards to the Congressional Budget Office, can you name ONE time that the CBO has ever been correct in their predictions? Again, UP to 60 million people could join the exchange. The CBO revised their prediction number down to 7 million in 2014 not because they believe that is ALL that will join, but because they believe a lot of exchanges will not be open on time and because medicaid and medicare has been expanded to include more people. CBO has also estimated that 7 million people will lose their employer based insurance, forcing them to go on the Exchange. In 2014, the number won't be high because many employers will wait and see how this all plays out, but in 2015 the number will dramatically jump as more and more employers get rid of expenses and force it upon the government. Logic, Sparty, logic. The federal government is running 33 exchanges out of 50. These 33 exchanges have 140 health insurance carriers that filed applications. These number aren't very good when it comes to competition. Many carriers have adopted the wait and see approach. Obviously, some carriers are jumping in feet first, trying to keep their premiums as low as possible (a 13% increase isn't something to be proud of), might end up getting burnt because majority of the people who join the exchange will be those that have pre-existing conditions. So more claims will be paid out than the premiums coming in. So if you thought 10% to 13% rate increase was bad. Wait until 2015 rolls around. Again, nothing in ObamaCare and these exchanges have helped reduce the premiums as promised and it is just going to get worse.


Tue, May 28, 2013 : 3:20 p.m.

Sparty, And all this is coming from the person who was ROFL at a statement about the taxpayers subsidizing the premiums for people buying insurance through the exchange. It's one thing to get your information from the government, it's like drinking the koolaid, but you really need to get information elsewhere to help understand the bigger picture. First, to say the premiums in California is going down is very misleading because the government is comparing an individual plan to a group plan. Now why would the government do that? Because if they would compare individual plans to individual plans they would see the premiums rising. Blue Cross of California said their rates are going up 13%. The Executive Director of Covered California, Peter Lee, said the rates are going up when compared to individual plans. But obviously, Covered California is going to spin it the way to make everything positive, leaving out the details. We have yet to hear from the other carriers how much their premiums have gone up vs individual policies. Even said "CBO analysis actually said that premiums on the individual market would go up by 10 percent to 13 percent because of the law." Ummm....whatever happened to our premiums going DOWN? Second, less than half of California's insurers are participating in the exchange. The 3 largest insurers are not participating. Only 36% of Blue Cross's network will be available to the people who buy its policy through the exchange. These numbers are not something to be proud of. And we have yet to hear from other carriers about their network coverage. Apparently you didn't go to to look for yourself: "Up to one in five non-elderly Americans with a pre-existing condition – 25 million individuals – is uninsured." Sooo....if they are uninsured with pre-existing medical conditions why wouldn't they get health insurance through the exchange? About CBO......


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 5:32 p.m.

Way to drive even MORE people out of Michigan Snyder! You are Koch puppet!


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 9:32 p.m.

Yup. Ricky S is in the pockets of the Koch boys. Check out the article below for more evidence that RS is bought off by the Koch's. A three-story mountain of petroleum coke covers an entire city block on the side of the Detroit River, the byproduct of the Canadian tar sands oil, owned by Koch Carbon.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 5:02 p.m.

@ Concerned Neighbor and Maallen-- Clearly you have not been out in the marketplace trying to purchase private insurance. I was absolutely shocked at what I found when I tried to do that. I was told, when I took over paying personally for my health insurance coverage, that my current group insurance carrier would not be able to provide for some long, unspecified period of time a guarantee that I would receive a pre-existing conditions exemption waiver (even though I had chosen at considerable monetary expense to jump through all the hoops required to obtain that waiver)......a long enough time that my window for choosing coverage would have closed long before I had a definitive answer to whether pre-existing conditions would or would not be covered. I was also told by several healthcare customer service reps that anything could be considered a pre-existing condition. The example used was having a heart attack, since clearly the conditions leading to that event had pre-existed, and any reasonable person taking good care of their health should have known that those conditions existed. Since only accidents come out of the blue, I was led to believe that most health emergencies could be construed as being the result of a pre-existing condition that any reasonable person should have known about. It is a very interesting insurance marketplace. After The Affordable Care Act, insurance providers have become even more hard-nosed. The laws on the books, and the way those laws operate in practice for those without an insurance "group" to belong to, are two very different things. If you have not gone out to try to obtain personal coverage, you should--it would be a very instructive exercise in how the system works.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 6 p.m.

If only all Americans, not just those who work for, or are subsidized by, the government, could enjoy those premium healthcare benefits...


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 4:32 p.m.

One poster tells us: " the union did not make this discriminatory law, the legislature did and Snyder signed it." Yes, but under the statute, the contract amendment, which addressed different issues, apparently has the effect of allowing the discriminatory statute to apply four(?) years earlier than otherwise. The union negotiators should have been aware of this part of the legal situation. And the inion layers should have so advised them. But as the quote from AAEA President Linda Carter makes clear, they hadn't a clue about this issue. They were "surprised", and let themselves get sandbagged by the school administration, to the detriment of a substantial number of couples, and their children. I don't see why the union wouldn't be liable to those families in a lawsuit. And I assume the union's lawyers are nervously checking their malpractice liability insurance. Lots of blame to go around. The issue may well go away, if the courts strike down this retrograde statute; the union and its lawyers may be lucky. But in the meanwhile, these families will have considerably more expensive (non-group) health insurance, or none at all, because the union botched this.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 4:10 p.m.

This is definitely the AAEA presidents fault. She should know how Snyder's attack on public education is effecting her membership. This was one of the first bills he signed to start his attack on teachers. If I recall the original law was changed before it was signed to exempt public employees who work at universtities or colleges. (Rickey had to look out for his friends at U of M)


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

Yes, you are correct about the state consitution, however the bill was still changed to exempt universtity employees. The bottom line is the AAEA should known how all of these new bills are going to effect there membership when they are barganing. There is no excuse for not knowing ! I think its horrible law and should have never been signed either way. So I guess its up to the courts to decide.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 9:34 p.m.

Wrong, Universities have Constitutional Autonomy which is the ONLY reason the law doesn't apply to them.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 1:43 p.m.

Losing health insurance over this issue is unconscionable. At the very least, let these couples keep their existing health ins policies (even if they have to pay the full premium amount out of pocket) while this issue goes through the courts. Otherwise they are at the mercy of the private ins market which is terrible, very expensive and not as comprehensive as group coverage. It is immoral to kick them off their insurance policies. Maybe Ricky S should have his health insurance yanked.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 7:48 p.m.



Mon, May 20, 2013 : 7:45 p.m.

Please explain to me why every American should not have the very best healthcare available to them, i.e. that which teachers and other government workers enjoy.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 5:04 p.m.

"They are at the mercy of the private ins market which is terrible, very expensive and not as comprehensive as group coverage". It would be nice if everyone on this blog cared even a little bit about the millions of other Americans who have no options besides private insurance.

Basic Bob

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 3:23 p.m.

these adults have chosen to take jobs as independent contractors. like other independent contractors, they have received a higher payment than their colleagues because they did not receive employer sponsored benefits. they also assume the risk of providing their own life, health, disability, and liability insurance, and most likely receive no sick, vacation, or holiday pay. this is a choice they made as responsible adults. it has nothing to do with morality.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 1 p.m.

Marriage Equality: 12 States and DC., 57% of Americans Support It Michigan? Still discriminating and implementing NEW discriminatory legislation. Defense of Marriage Act: Under Final Review by the US Supreme Court


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 12:14 p.m.

Rick Snyder..ruining Michigan one citizen at a time

Ross Dunbar

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 11:50 p.m.

To anonymous person "Usual Suspect": Just like everyone had the opportunity to marry someone of the same race when some states banned inter-racial marriage years ago? Those bigoted state laws were overturned in the case Loving v. Virginia. The Michigan law from December 2011 is based on the same bigotry. Chief Justice John Roberts will teach all supposed conservatives a lesson again this summer (as he did upholding health care reform) when he writes the majority decision striking down these recent discriminatory state laws including Michigan's that clearly violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Joe Hood

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 8:29 p.m.

Ross: Chief Justice Roberts was strong armed into not dissolving the gigantic unknown health care law by the executive branch. A civics lesson yes but not one of how things should work.

Ross Dunbar

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 7:18 p.m.

Jack, your interpretation of the health care ruling is correct. The tax was upheld expressly because it did not violate anyone's rights. I thought Roberts's majority opinion in that ruling was a good civics lesson for all Americans about the proper role of the three braches of government. The majority (of voters via the legislature) has the right to pass any law it wants to as long as that law does not violate the protections of the U.S. Constitution. The December 2011 Michigan law (and CA's prop 8 and the federal DOMA) will all be struck down this summer as clearly violating the 14th Amendment and the clear legal precedent set in the case Loving v. Virginia.

Usual Suspect

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 1:03 p.m.

Equating gay marriage with civil rights is extremely invalid.

Jack Gladney

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 12:29 p.m.

Ross, you obviously did not read the Roberts' Opinion in the ACA ruling. The Court did not uphold the law based on healthcare being a right. It only ruled that Obamacare was constitutional because government has the power to tax whoever and whatever it wants to. It also affirmed that the solution to politicians who love to tax is to vote them out of office. Most people did not listen to or read what Roberts was actually advocating in his opinion: "Don't like it? Then vote the bums out."


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

@ Unusual - gay rights is this generations civil rights. We aren't going away and intend to fight for what is right

Usual Suspect

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 12:11 p.m.

Comparing gay marriage to civil rights. Not only major fail, but extremely foul.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 7:28 a.m.

God's ear? Is there such thing? Not the God part....the ear part.

Joe Hood

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 2:56 a.m.

I think Justice Ginsburg already telegraphed the court's decision, with her comments about Roe v Wade.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 2:13 a.m.

Ross, you sound pretty sure about Roberts........

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 12:50 a.m.

From your mouth to God's ear. GN&GL

Samuel Burns

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 11:14 p.m.

This is exactly why marriage equality is important.

Usual Suspect

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 11:29 p.m.

There is equality. Everybody can marry a person of the opposite sex. Everybody - that's equal.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 11 p.m.

@ BasicBob, re: "Access to health insurance is not a right. Otherwise Obama and his predecessors would have given it to everyone, regardless of who they work for." Actually, the only reason that Richard Nixon didn't end up "giving" US citizens health care that was WAY more progressive than "Obamacare" is that progressives thought his plan too conservative! We had no way of knowing back then how mean-spirited and angry the right would become -- we thought that Nixon was about as bad as it could get!


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 8:57 p.m.

Were we paying healthcare to male and female couples or only male couples and female couples? It would seam this could get out of hand. How many dependants can I have if my new partner has a dozen illegitament children that comes with our relationship? How often can I change partners? Can I claim them as a partner just when they need to claim something from my insurance company and then move to another relationship? Am I only allowed one partner at a time?


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 3:52 p.m.

Legalize same-sex marriage and you won't have to worry about the "partner" concept.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 10:28 a.m.

I don't think I worded my questions very well. Yes, these questions were for the term "partner" in general. What is the definition of partner? If I am single and my neighbor doesn't have healthcare, could I have helped them out by just calling them my partner? If so this idea of benefits to partners would be abused. I don't like my tax dollars intended for education potentially becoming welfare benefits.

David Martel

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 3:01 a.m.

And all the scenarios you paint can't happen with a same sex married couple?


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 2:09 a.m.

Poorman, you bring up an excellent point !!


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 8:46 p.m.

"We were really trying to get (the amendments) through — to be perfectly honest — because of Right to Work." Well that should make us all feel warm and fuzzy. Knowing that the powers that be blew it again!

Concerned Neighbor

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 8:21 p.m.

People, people, people. It is not the end of the world. Someone will now have to make some sacrifices and buy there own health ins. It is out there. Buy the plan you want, and get what you pay for. Health insurance is not a right. It is a commodity that you buy if you want it.


Mon, May 27, 2013 : 8:54 p.m.

Maallen and AC, Covered California is the OFFICIAL Agency in California dealing with Health Reform issues and the Exchange there. They released the Official Premium Rates from all Insurers participating in the 2014 Exchange on Thursday, and it was widely communicated on National Media. You failed to do your homework. See my post at the bottom of this thread, it got misdirected.


Sun, May 26, 2013 : 6:46 p.m.

Your guy at work .... Currently under Medicare, physicians enter one of 18,000 codes to be reimbursed on claims for medical care or treatment. Under Obamacare, the number of codes increases to over 100,000. Example: Over seventy codes cover "people injured by animals". Six of the codes cover injuries sustained as a result of a macaw bite, two for injuries sustained as the result of a turtle. This is from a government that was to simplify healthcare? This is from a government that has close to 10% budget waste, fraud, and abuse under current medicare and medicaid rules? This is from a government that can not even keep up or administer the claims of our veterans?


Sun, May 26, 2013 : 5:52 p.m.

You are saying only 25 to 30 million will buy from the exchange and I am saying up to 60 million will buy based on the federal government's website and the CBO's reports. Details. says "Up to one in five non-elderly Americans with a pre-existing condition – 25 million individuals – is uninsured." So are you saying the very federal government department who is in charge of ObamaCare is lying? You said the High Risk plan was closed, which is misleading. Because if you said that to the person that has the plan they would tell you it's not closed. I was just merely pointing out to you that it wasn't closed to the people that had it. It was only closed to NEW people. And why? because the federal government ran out of money. More payments inclaims were going out than was coming in from the premiums. Simple math. The number I posted about businesses dropping their insurance is based on CBO's findings. Logic dictates, if a business can shift a cost onto the federal government, they will do so. Since us taxpayers will be subsidizing the premiums, businesses will drop their insurance to save money. I have not denied premiums have gone up every year. There is no debate in that. However, what I did say is nothing in the ObamaCare law has brought the premiums down. President Obama himself, & many other democrats have all said this law will bring our premiums down. They have not and continue to go up! That's a fact. Number(s) about California came directly from the source, the carrier! Their rates for 2014 is going up 13%. And in Maryland it's 25%. And Harry Reid did indeed say ObamaCare is a trainwreck (and yes Baucus said it first which I never denied that.) Regardless of which stage of ObamaCare a person was relating to, the fact remains that it is true, it is a trainwreck. Reid had 3 years to properly fund the rollout and he didn't. Can you imagine what the next few years will be like?


Sun, May 26, 2013 : 5:50 p.m.

I can't believe there are those who believe that the taxpayers are not subsidizing the premiums of those who buy their insurance through the exchange. Who do you think pays the taxes to the federal government so they can subsidize the premiums?


Sun, May 26, 2013 : 4:54 p.m.

Sparty, You were ROFL when I said the taxpayers will be helping to pay the premiums of those who buy their insurance through the exchange. You said it wasn't true, but then you post that people will get subsidies from the federal government! lol Thanks for backing up what I have been saying all along! Here's some important information you left out when you were referring to California. One carrier in California stated rates were going up about 13% in 2014. People who buy insurance through the exchange will have a limited choice of doctors and hospitals according to Covered California. This helps keep the "cost down." Blue Cross of California has said only about 36% of their network will be available to those who buy insurance through the exchange. Doesn't sound all that great now does it? In California alone, it is expected up to 5 million people to go through the healthcare exchange. Half of those are eligible for federal subsidies (taxpayers paying their premiums). You cite old statistics, from two years ago, from fox business as your evidence of how many people will be joining the exchange. The Congressional Budget Office is estimating about 7 million people will lose their employer based health insurance and will be forced to join the exchange (between the years of 2014 and 2015 I believe that number will rise.) As of January 2013, the HHS (the department in charge of running ObamaCare) has said about 45 million people will be required to buy health insurance. In 2012, CBO estimated up to 60 million people are without insurance.


Sun, May 26, 2013 : 3:20 p.m.

As moderation buffers seem especially high around your comments Sparty, I will just respond by saying that your quoting from a government web-site - created to extoll virtues of California Obmamcare, instead of the LA Times article which states that insurers will not even present rate proposals until June... I'd go with the LA Times. But if you're shilling for Obamacare, it's understandable your preference would be PR vice independent journalism - such as it exists.


Sat, May 25, 2013 : 9:18 p.m.

Loved your reality check today, ArborComment .... too bad that like so many of your posts, it's proven to be false as noted above. Had you done your homework, instead of automatically and immediately disputing every post that I write, you would have easily found California's Health Care premiums for 2014 had been released by "Covered California".


Sat, May 25, 2013 : 9:10 p.m.

Maallen, here's another false number that you posted, verified by the Heritage Foundation: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is reporting that the new health care law will decrease the number of uninsured in 2019 by 32 million.


Sat, May 25, 2013 : 9:09 p.m.

Maallen, Another of your claims is incorrect ... per HealthReform.Gov How can you continue posting the drivel and false info that you do? The numbers you post about small businesses dropping their plans due to ObamaCare is ludicrous and has no factual basis . You claim Premiums went up when ObamaCare started going into effect. However ... you fail to recall that Premiums have been going up annually every year in HISTORY! Your numbers about people with pre-existing conditions is wrong, your numbers about small businesses dropping insurance are wrong, your numbers about California Premiums are wrong, your information about the High Risk insurance program being closed was wrong, your comment about who said ObamaCare was a train wreck and why it was said (because of the lack of information about the rollout - not the program itself!!!), your number of the newly insured is wrong. What that posted is correct, Maallen? It's too difficult to find the grain of truth given all the false information that you post.


Sat, May 25, 2013 : 8:51 p.m.

Yet another claim of yours that is incorrect, Maallen: "The exchanges were a key component of the Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law last year. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that 12 million consumers will buy health insurance in the exchange market in 2014." This source courtesy of FoxBusiness.


Sat, May 25, 2013 : 8:40 p.m.

Health insurers in California will charge an average of $304 a month for the cheapest silver-level plan in state-based exchanges next year, according to rates released Thursday by Covered California, which is implementing the Affordable Care Act there. But many residents will pay a lot less than that for coverage. Rates will vary by region, age and level of coverage, and many lower-income Californias will qualify for federal subsidies that will greatly lower the premiums. The plans will come in four tiers, ranging from bronze to platinum. The former will charge lower premiums, but carry higher out-of-pocket benefits, and the latter will have the highest premiums but have the lowest out-of-pocket costs. Subsidies will be based on the cost of silver-level plans and will be available to those earning up to 400% of the poverty line -- roughly $45,000 for an individual or $92,000 for a family of four. The state-based exchanges will open for enrollment in October. Coverage under Obamacare, as the act is known, will begin in January. While Covered California said a direct comparison is impossible because the new plans will provide more benefits, the agency noted that the rates for individuals will be between 29% lower and 2% higher than the average premium for small employers in the state's most populous areas.


Sat, May 25, 2013 : 1:58 a.m.

Also today's reality check: California insurers do not even submit their PROPOSED rates until JUNE.


Sat, May 25, 2013 : 1:57 a.m.

Sparty, A double digit increase of 13% in California isn't something to be proud of, especially when the President said it will bring our premiums down. & you conveniently ignored a carrier in Maryland increasing their rates to 25%. Not numbers to be proud of, Sparty. Apparently you need to re-read the law. People who buy their health insurance through the exchange will receive a subsidy from the federal gov to help pay for their premiums based on their family income. They could receive as little as 5% of their premiums to 100% of their premiums being subsidized. A family of 4 making $88,000 will receive anywhere between 30% to 50% of their premiums subsidized, according to the federal government's website. Here's a direct quote from the federal government's website: "More people than ever will qualify for free or low cost health insurance in 2014. When key parts of the health care law take effect in 2014, more people than ever before will qualify for health insurance that fits their budget. You may be eligible for a free or low-cost plan, or a new kind of tax credit that lowers your monthly premiums right away." If people buy their insurance outside of the exchange they will not be subsidized. How could you not know this? Yes, we the taxpayers will be paying for people's premiums. A simple google search will even tell you this. The 25 million uninsured people with pre-existing conditions # came directly from the federal gov. The # of up to 60 million people going on the health care exchange came directly from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Small businesses dropping their health insurance isn't my prediction, it came from the CBO & from researchers who do market studies. I think you should do less ROFL and spend more time learning the law & what it entails.


Sat, May 25, 2013 : 1:45 a.m.

Also just today, even Unions are beginning to hear the train whistle and see the bridge is out:


Fri, May 24, 2013 : 9:04 p.m.

Malleen, Just today California announced that 2014 Premiums were going to be lower than projected anticipated. Your "predictions" about small businesses canceling their insurance programs have yet to be born out. Your claim that people using the Exchanges means that Taxpayers will be paying their premiums is laughable. The Exchanges are a shopping medium ... people will use them to select an insurer and program that best meets their needs and budget. ROFL. Further, you are wrong .... 30 million newly insured people is the expected number of Citizens to be added to the insured ranks. Your numbers fall by the way side.


Fri, May 24, 2013 : 3:41 p.m.

Sparty, In regards to the renewal process, I think you misunderstood what was written: An insurance company here in Michigan is allowing their customers (individuals and businesses) to renew their plan EARLY. So, if their helath insurance plan renews in 2014 of January, February, or March (meaning that is when their new rates go into effect), they can choose to renew in December of 2013 to lock in the 2013 rates and not get hit with the new 2014 rates. The reason for doing this? Because their new December 2013 rates will be substantially lower than the new 2014 rates would be if they just waited for their usual renewal. Also, carriers around the country are starting to release their rate increases for 2014. A carrier in California announced their increasing their rates by 13%. California's two largest carriers are opting out of the health care exchange. A carrier in Maryland said their rates are going up 25%. And this is just for 2014. Once it has been in place for a year and carriers get a feel of what is happening, expect the rates to go even higher for 2015. Nothing in ObamaCare has helped bring the cost down. According to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Human and Health Services summed it up: "Rate increases are likely to continue to be somewhat substantial."


Fri, May 24, 2013 : 3:08 p.m.

Sparty, Once again, you need to be corrected.... While Baucus was the first one to call it a train wreck, Harry Reid ALSO said it during an interview in Las Vegas. In the interview, Harry Reid went on to say that he needs more money for the implementation of the program. He had 3 years to budget for this, oh wait, they didn't pass a budget during those times. He had 3 years of collecting taxes to fund this, what happened to that money? According to the Department of Human and Health Services, 25 million people with pre-existing conditions are uninsured. (sorry, I was off by 5 million.) It is NOT the total number of people expecting to go on the healthcare exchange. Another 82 million people with pre-existing conditions are covered by employers. It is expected that up to 30% of small businesses (under 50 employees) will drop their health coverage and have their employees go on the Exchange within the first year. By 2015, another 50% of small businesses will drop their health insurance. The CBO estimates up to 60 million will be on the exchange. Which means the taxpayers will be paying their premiums.


Fri, May 24, 2013 : 3:48 a.m.

False again. Let me correct you point by point, It was Sen Baucus who made the train wreck comment, and he was referring to people's awareness of the rollout process NOT the Program that HE largely helped write. The 30 million new enrollees is the total number on newly insured Americans expected to be covered, not the number with pre-existing conditions which is considerably smaller. Americans have always renewed, or enrolled in their next years insurance beginning in the 4th Quarter during open enrollment. The timing of enrollment will not change this year due to ObamaCare either. Your post is so filled with errors its laughable, but typical of Republicans who post things like that despite it being factually completely false and irresponsible.


Thu, May 23, 2013 : 11:05 p.m.

Sparty, Where have you been? Reid did go on record saying it's going to be a train wreck. He said this in Las Vegas. Reid is now saying that he needs more money to implement ObamaCare. The Senate (controlled by democrats) have had 3 years to properly fund ObamaCare. Oh wait, that's right they didn't do a budget for three years so how could they fund it? & what about all the upfront taxes to help fund it? Where did that go? Now the Democrats want to repeal the tax on medical devices. The 30 million "new" people joining the health insurance is the number that the federal government kept using for people with pre-existing conditions. So these people who join, will be using the insurance more, and the insurance companies will be paying out more claims. It's actaully simple math. The insurance companies know this and have to raise the premiums. As a matter in fact, here in Michigan there is a carrier that is allowing companies/people to renew early (December 2013) if they have a renewal date of Jan., feb, or March of 2014. Gee I wonder why that is? Obama ""We're going to work with you to lower your premiums by $2,500 per family per year. And we will not wait 20 years from now to do it or 10 years from now to do it. We will do it by the end of my first term." Sebeluis ""Rate increases are likely to continue to be somewhat substantial." The goal was to bring the premiums down. But now even the democrats are trying to downplay that and say we are just trying to moderate the increases. Nice try.


Thu, May 23, 2013 : 8:39 p.m.

No, Maallen, Harry Reid did not go on record saying ObamaCare was a train wreck. Two, common sense does not dictate that premiums will have to go up in 2014. 30 million new individuals will join the insured - a wider base. Some will have higher premiums, some will have lower, some will have the same rates. Third, Secretary Sebelius has not stated that premiums in 2014 have gone up ... they haven't been published yet. Any numbers thrown about are strictly predictions, mostly from Republicans. Some premiums will go up, yes. Some will go down. And some will stay the same. One thing is certain. The insurance that people will have will be more comprehensive than that they had previously with more protections, etc. Finally, the Democrats said that with ObamaCare, health care costs would TREND DOWN over time relative to where they would have been otherwise. Only FOOLS will forget that Premiums have risen every year in history previously ... and they will likely go up after 2014, but the goal is to moderate them and to add 30 MILLION previously uninsured to the ranks of the insured at the same time.


Thu, May 23, 2013 : 5:12 p.m.

One can't ignore all the claims from President Obama and the democrats that if ObamaCare is passed, premiums will go down. Kathleen Sebeluis now says ObamaCare has in fact raised premiums. The democrats are now going on record saying that premiums are going to go up even higher than they normally would. Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't Harry Reid even say ObamaCare is a train wreck waiting to happen? So one has to wonder, who is drinking the kool-aid?


Thu, May 23, 2013 : 4:31 a.m.

Common sense, and smart kool aid, says that by no longer having uninsured medical costs continually forcing premiums higher, they may moderate more than they would have otherwise. Only fools forget that health care premiums have increased annually for decades and they may even go up under ObamaCare, but perhaps less than otherwise. If is an attempt at least to get them under control. What have the Republicans proposed as an alternative - nothing!


Thu, May 23, 2013 : 1:45 a.m.

Will ingestion of large amounts of kool aid, and simply "refusing" to see that increasing the number of insured and increased claims, be a pre-existing condition?


Thu, May 23, 2013 : 12:39 a.m.

While ObamaCare is closed to new applicants since March, it still doesn't explain why only a 100,000 signed up out of millions upon millions of people with pre-existing conditions. It is interesting to note, we had Blue Cross here in Michigan that did not ask medical questions and people complained that their rates were too high. All insurance carriers will no longer be able to ask medical questions starting in 2014, it is common sense that they will hike the premiiums because they will be paying out more claims starting in 2014 and there is a large unknown of how much they will pay out. What happened when ObamaCare first take affect? Premiums went up to cover the mandated benefits that ObamaCare required. What happened to the promise that premiums would go down? Kathleen Sebeluis, Secretary of Human and Health Services, even said ObamaCare has cause premiums to go up. Common sense dicatates in order to cover the claims that will start in 2014, premiums will have to go up.


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 6:48 p.m.

As I said, Maallen, the program is closed. New participants haven't been able to enroll since March. That means it is closed. Few participants enrolled in the program because of the high costs. However, in 2014, once ObamaCare is fully implemented insurers will no longer be able to discriminate and charge higher costs to those with pre-existing conditions as they did under this program and have continued to do to-date in any other program. As you know, NO insurers have announced their 2014 Premiums so your predictions about what they will be are just that .... predictions. Those 20 million you mentioned with pre-existing conditions will be thrilled to get insurance without bias in their premiums, I'm sure.


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

Sparty, The High Risk Pool health insurance under ObamaCare is still open. Those that have the coverage will have it until the law goes into full effect 2014. In March of this year it closed to new applicants because the federal government ran out of money and no one was signing up. Out of millions they were expecting to sign up, only about 100,000 did so. Yes, the federal government said you must be without insurance for 6 months, essentially a waiting preiod before getting a pre existing condition covered (something the government chastised health insurance carriers for doing!) only affected a small precentage of those with pre-existing conditions because if they already had the insurance why would they switch to the high risk pool? Over 20 million, according to the government) were WITHOUT insurance due to pre-existing conditions so why did only 100,000 sign up? The high risk pool disaster is a telling sign of what is to come in 2014 when the law takes full effect. And we thought premiums were high now?


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 9:38 p.m.

Maallen, You are wrong --- that plan is now closed and has been for a while. Further, even when it was open, it required that the individuals be without insurance for a minimum of 6 months - a huge issue for many people with chronic health problems. The other problem, as you noted was the high cost of the plan.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 3:12 p.m.

Sparty, That is not true. When ObamaCare was passed they also implemented a health insurance plan that allowed those with pre-existing conditions to get health insurance until ObamaCare took full effect in 2014. The government was expecting millions to join this plan. Only 100,000 people around the country actually joined. The main reason why people didn't join the plan is because of cost.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 12:51 p.m.

And if there are pre- existing conditions? Then you can't get it until ObamaCare goes into effect next year. And you are Wrong, Health insurance is a RIGHT - one must be allowed to purchase it free of bias.

Basic Bob

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 8:49 p.m.

And Obamacare has actually worked very well for the self-employed. I'm not saying it's cheap.

mike gatti

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 8:18 p.m.

I don't understand the meanness that is levied on a group of people in the name of morality. Very sad.

Usual Suspect

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 8:12 p.m.

It may make people feel good to tell themselves everybody is on their side of the issue. But the truth is this was enacted by a legislature and a governor who were put in their positions by a majority of the voters of this state. The Karma of how this happened - the unions trying to go around another law - is very refreshing. Maybe some union members will now see for whom the union leadership works. Hint: it's not the children, and it's not union members.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 8:05 p.m.

Whats the purpose of having union lawyers if they dont read the fine print? Don't blame the governor YOU NEED TO READ THE CONTRACTS!


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 3:50 p.m.

The Governor is the one who signed this into law. He put this law into effect; this is his fault primarily. The union leadership in this case was certainly lacking, but the union did not make this discriminatory law, the legislature did and Snyder signed it.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

It WASN'T IN THE CONTRACT, it's a State Law.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 6:52 p.m.

One can wonder if there is a potential lawsuit against the union for botching this so badly. "AAEA President Linda Carter said she and members alike were "very surprised" to learn about the letters from the district stating couples would lose their insurance benefits — including comprehensive medical, dental and vision insurance . . ." But they surely should have known, if the statute is as clear as AMOC's paraphrase: "The 2011 law says that contract clauses involving benefits to unmarried partners become null and void whenever a contract that was in force when the law took effect is revised or extended."


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 6:42 p.m.

Mrs. Arndt did you ask Mrs. Bassett or Mr. Ways how they feel about their union leadership after this matter? Or if they felt the leadership let them down?


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 6:29 p.m.

The union leadership really mishandled representation of the membership of same sex relationships. They did this all in an effort to circumvent Right to Work legislation. I wonder if those couples negatively effect by the ineptness of the union leadership, in this matter, still want to continue paying union dues if they weren't forced to.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 6:06 p.m.

Why do domestic partners even need benefits? Doesn't Obamacare take care of that for them?


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 10:07 p.m.

No, it has nothing to do with domestic partners.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 6:03 p.m.

Let me get this straight, you hurried up and passed a new contract to avoid the new law and didn't bother to understand all the current laws and now are complaining that the union messed up everything for you? It's your union, sorry.

Tom Todd

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 5:32 p.m.

Osama Bin Laden WON! we the middle class are turning on each other and the Rich are laughing to the BANK.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 6:04 p.m.

? Please explain how Bin Laden won and why "rich people" are laughing to the bank? Isn't Michigan in massive debt, so wouldn't we all not be laughing?


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 5:26 p.m.

Didn't the U-M just rework a Lecturers union contract? How come this law is not applied to them?


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 12:31 p.m.

Constitutional autonomy

Ross Dunbar

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 4:45 p.m.

Words cannot truly express how upsetting this is. I have co-workers who have been committed to each other longer than my wife and I have been married, who have been loving parents to their kids longer than my wife and I have provided for ours. We have now let them be declared "second-class citizens" not worthy of the same legal benefits and protections we have access to. A blind eye was turned to equal protection of the laws and we let bigotry become the law here in the state of Michigan in December 2011.

Usual Suspect

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 1:44 p.m.

That's only if you think they're "rights." Just because something is a "want" doesn't make it a "right."


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

Thinking it's ok to deny other people rights is not a "disagreement", Usual Suspect. It's bigotry.

Usual Suspect

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 11:32 p.m.

Somebody disagrees with me. I'm going call it "bigotry." Very sneaky.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 6:05 p.m.

Some of us think children need a mommy and a daddy. Only in the last 20 years of the past 4 billion years has a civilization thought that both the mommy and daddy were not needed.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 4:25 p.m.

The union thought it was slick and circumvented the right to work legislation and look what they did to their members......................kind of reminds me of all the surprises in the affordable care act; nobody liked that either but we're stuck with it now


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 3:07 p.m.

And now that we "see" what's in it no one likes it. Even the democrats who voted for it says it is bad and they don't like it. Harry Reid "It's a train wreck."


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 4:39 p.m.

To paraphrase N. Pelosi -- "We have to ratify the contract so that you can see what is in the contract."


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 3:10 p.m.

Tunnel vision causes problems.

Basic Bob

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 3:04 p.m.

First World Problems So here's the legal arguments filed in the federal case: "To keep her premium down to $250 per month, C__ would have to accept a $2,500 deductible and pay many medical expenses out of pocket; alternatively she could pay a premium of about $800 per month for more comprehensive coverage. This added cost would put considerable pressure on the family's finances, which are already strained by a mortgage and the costs of sending two children to college." "J__ has a Master's Degree in Social Work and works as a licensed therapist with his own private practice. He does not have access to his own employer-provided benefits plan because he is self-employed. The flexibility of being self-employed allows J__ to be home when A__ comes home from school in the afternoons. P__ and J__ have considered moving back to Washington state, so that P__ could take a job that provides family benefits for which J__ would be eligible"

Usual Suspect

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 11:37 p.m.

Mike brings up a very important point. This is the way the Republic was meant to be. The state is the primary entity. The states formed the federal government to serve them. The people of each state decide what their state is going to be like. And there is freedom of movement throughout - you may choose the state the best suits you.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 4:27 p.m.

Lucky for us we live in a society that allows you to live wherever you'd like...........if Michigan isn't working for you it sounds like other states would...........


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 2:56 p.m.

Whine all you want,,,the liberal trough is running low...This so called "progressive movement" cost money...The taxpayer has said enough is enough....Most libs love taxes, as long as someone else is paying them....


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 5:48 p.m.

Gramma, yes, teachers along with the rest of the private and public sector...My question to you is, how do you propose to fund the deficit? Cuts need to be made, sorry........BTW, I've been a union(private sector) member for over 39 years and dislike RTW as the next but, I understand why it was implemented......


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 4:03 p.m.

Dan, all teachers, gay or straight, are taxpayers.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 2:47 p.m.

The article and most comments assume that the recent contract amendments make the retrograde statute apply, overriding the collectively-bargained provisions that protect same-sex marriage. But is that entirely clear? Just because the school board says so? I don't know the answer, but if the recently-signed document said that amendments to sections 2, 7, 14 and 16 (whatever), by a document that also says "all other provisions of the ___agreement" shall continue in full force -- one can imagine that document NOT being treated as a new agreement causing the retrograde statue to override the marriage-protecting provisions of the earlier document.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 4:47 p.m.

rm1 - The 2011 law says that contract clauses involving benefits to unmarried partners become null and void whenever a contract that was in force when the law took effect is revised or extended. There will, no doubt, be a lawsuit or two. The MEA still has a few million more of our tax dollars in the bank. But I think the Michigan legislature was pretty clear that when next expiring, renegotiating, or extending the effective date of a contract , benefits for unmarried partners would go away. On the other hand, making same-sex marriage legal in Michigan would remove the problem, as long as the same-sex couples were willing and able to get married legally once they can, or have already married in a state where this option is available.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

Reading this article again, one must wonder if this WILL apply to all of the other school Districts AND Universities that rushed to extend their contracts prior to RTW taking effect. Wow. This could be HUGE!:) As I roll on the floor laughing so hard that my tummy hurts..........:)


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 12:41 p.m.

Hardly. Universities have Constitutional Autonomy as has been stated repeatedly. Laughing about sick children and partners losing their health insurance? Wow.

Joe Hood

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 2:52 a.m.

I'm sure JBK is not laughing at the plight of those that are losing out individually but a lot of stupid things happen when things are rushed.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 9:16 p.m.

I feel your pain.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 6:54 p.m.

Wow, it amazes me that you find humor in others loss. Unbelievalbe!


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

Looks as if Mr. Brit Satchwell, former AAEA President, was correct in not wanting the contract to be opened up. He summed it up nicely in the March 21, 2013 article: "The union's running scared and is using scare tactics on its members," Satchwell said." In their haste, the union used scare tacticts to pass a contract and lock the employees into paying fees to the union for another 5 years, instead of doing their homework (for which they are paid to do) and see what kind of impact the new contract would have on its members. The members (teachers) of the union always tell the kids to do their homework, but yet they themselves failed to do theirs.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 6:31 p.m.

My mother always taught me to not speak up if I had no clue what I was speaking of.

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 1:48 p.m.

I believe the 14th amendment should afford a gay couple the same rights my wife and i have I believe America should have universal health care. I also believe people shouldn't try to dodge laws they don't like the way the school system did with right to work. Shame on the people who didn't do their homework. They tried to skirt a law they didn't like and by so doing kicked in a law they like even less.

Joe Hood

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 8:25 p.m.

cameal: I suppose you could look into that; They still have the potential of having kids, alas marriage is not a right but an extra.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 1:35 p.m.

Question: What about married heterosexual couples who produce no offspring, either by choice or because they can't medically? Should their rights be taken away?

Joe Hood

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 2:50 a.m.

The 14th Amendment is about the rights of the individual. We all have the same rights. Society has given an extra privileged to married couples because their offspring benefit the people as a whole.

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 6:05 p.m.

forcing people to pay union dues is right and giving them an option is wrong?

Tom Todd

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 3:08 p.m.

if I won 600 million I could have lobbied for all kinds of laws which does not make them right. something about a cliff comes to mind.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 1:48 p.m.

This is hilarious. In their rush to cicumvent RTW, the Unions pushed thru an extension by opening up the existing contract, ONLY to find out later that since this is NOW considered a NEW contract, it has to comply with the 2011 law that bars health care benefits to same sex partners. What a great way to start the day. There is an old saying, "Be careful what you wish for". lol Karma also comes to mind.........:)


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 12:37 p.m.

Hilarious? Sick children and partners losing health insurance? Wow.

Dog Guy

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 1:36 p.m.

So we didn't want Brit Satchwell"s broad vision and grasp of hidden details as AAEA president, but what about as AAPS superintendent?


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 8:53 p.m.

Not a bad idea. Is he interested?


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 6:29 p.m.

He's not the president of the AAEA.

David Briegel

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 1:19 p.m.

More reasons we need single payer. The silliness that some should have insurance while others shouldn't couldn't be more obvious. Marriage Equality should become law. Discriminatory laws are so unbecoming!

Basic Bob

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 1:16 p.m.

Access to health insurance is not a right. Otherwise Obama and his predecessors would have given it to everyone, regardless of who they work for. I sympathize with all those hard-workers independent contractors who pay for their own health insurance and stay-at-home parents with small children who depend on their family coverage. Those gainfully employed partners - male and female, married and unmarried - who are saving thousands of dollars per year on "free" healthcare courtesy of taxpayers are mooching, and receiving a benefit that their coworkers are expected to pay for.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 3:47 p.m.

@ clownfish - Now Republicans are pushing the "flexibility" act, in which you will be forced to work weekends for no pay, instead you have flexibility to have time off....what a farce!


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 4:32 p.m.

Clown - you have access to health care as long as you pay for it and last time I checked there were millions with jobs in right to work states.......................


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 3:43 p.m.

Basic Bob, while it is true that it is not a "right" issue, it is an equality issue. If your spouse can "mooch" off of your insurance because he or she is of the opposite sex, than your spouse should be able to "mooch" off of your insurance if he or she is of the same sex. Change the rules for all, but not just for some.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

So, we have a Right to Life, but no a right to access to health care. A Right to Work, but not a right to a job. Neat use of language to get ideology passed into law.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 12:41 p.m.

Congratulations on saving money while ruining families! I thought lawyers were supposed to research the implications of your signing contracts! Even if it wasn't listed specifically in the contract, as has been stated, these events are not happening in a vacuum. How could they have allowed this to happen? Hmmm...unless they just really don't care....


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 12:12 p.m.

Another example of how unions aren't automatically better than the alternative.

average joe

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 12:09 p.m.

I find it hard to believe that the union did not know about the consequences of opening up the contract. With all the unions renegotiating their contracts to get around the RTW law, one would think that the MEA especially would have notified the 'locals' about it. It appears that by their efforts in skirting the RTW law, the AAEA & MEA were only concerned with protecting the union itself, instead of protecting the union member's benefits.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 11:59 a.m.

The union had an obligation to negotiate for its members; the fact that Carter states it was all about beating the RTW from taking effect says it all. Both sides say the did not want this as an end result yet neither side bothered to include the language in the contract. I think the union is solely responsible for rushing this through in order to protect its income.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 12:39 a.m.

AMOC - I agree I think the morale is haste makes waste ... and in this case at someone elses expense


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 4:38 p.m.

B2Pilot - You say "yet neither side bothered to include the language in the contract". The law which is forcing the hand of the district makes the old contract language that both sides left unchanged in the new 5 year contract null and void. Nor, once having opened the contract for revision of any kind, including just an extension in time of it's effect, can the district or the union legally provide benefits to unmarried partners of employees. Dependents under IRS regulations will continue to receive benefits under this law, so many children of unmarried couples can continue to be covered by AAPS. So at least most of the children affected will be able to continue insurance coverage. I don't think this law is wise or fair, but I can't see how anyone on *either* side who was responsible for these negotiations could have forgotten about it in the less than 2 years since it took effect. Especially since we got an unprecedented (at that time) 3 year long contract with the AAEA to delay the time at which the district would be forced to end benefits for same-sex partners. I believe the strategy then was to extend the contract past the point where many on both sides hoped to have either a court decision striking it down or have succeeded in repealing the law after re-calling Gov. Snyder. Well, we've seen how successful the MEA-led recall effort was.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 11:53 a.m.

This is outrageous and unjust! I'm so sorry for the families affected by this, and hope change will come soon to our state. Governor Snyder promised this kind of thing wouldn't happen and yet it's one of the first laws he approved. Now, good, hard-working Michiganders and their children are being hurt. I can't respect laws that hate and discriminate.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 11:52 a.m.

So the union rushes to guarantee they'll get money to pay their salaries for five more years and in their rush cause this issue. Make no mistake, this had nothing to do with saving the district money. It was all about the unions getting money to pay their execs for five more years. They should agree with the district to void the new contracts, which would give up the pay cut but restore the benefit.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 12:20 p.m.

Voiding the contract to give up the pay still wouldn't allow the restoration of the benefits, thanks to the discrimination of Snyder and the Legislature. It wasn't about saving money. Now 12 States allow same-sex marriage and Equality in Benefits. 57% of Americans approve. The clock is ticking, while Michigan remains discriminatory and continues to implement new discriminatory legislation.

Usual Suspect

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 8:21 p.m.

Point SunnyDog09.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 3:17 p.m.

this quote: Carter said. "We were really trying to get (the amendments) through — to be perfectly honest — because of Right to Work."


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 2:12 p.m.

Don, this part? "We are going to fight on behalf of our members. ... We are hoping we can carve out a solution here. Our members have families, they have children, and we want to come to an amicable resolution."


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 1:40 p.m.

clownfish - Read the quote from Linda Carter and draw your own conclusion. It is in the article above.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 1:30 p.m.

Do you have ANY evidence to support your conclusion that the contract was about paying executives? Did the Board rush into a contract for the sole reason of paying union reps more? Really? And how did these execs get the board and all of the people that ratified this contract to do the bidding of the execs at the expense of the Board and the rank and file? I am really interested in the explanation of how this works, not just a repaet of Talking Points you here from anti-union thugs in the MSM.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 11:46 a.m.

Rick Snyder is a nightmare. When will it end.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 6:24 p.m.

Craig, there has been nothing but EVIL from that man since he took office. I can't even begin to imagine a worse choice.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 2:10 p.m.

@Westsidemom - I agree with you, however the governor DID sign the bill.

West Side Mom

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

I don't support the ban on domestic partner benefits and have been disappointed by Snyder's unwillingness to recognize that it was bi-partisan support that got him elected. But the ban on domestic partner benefits isn't a Snyder-only issue. It's a legislative issue. The real nightmare is the Michigan Legislature.

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 1:52 p.m.

I am an independent voter who tends to lean more democrat than republican. But I had no problem voting Snyder as the lesser of 2 evils.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 12:56 p.m.

Well, running a real candidate against him would be a great start. It was almost like the last mayoral election here.

tom swift jr.

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 11:45 a.m.

It is difficult to express what an evil person Snyder is without violating the guidelines of this forum, those words are not allowed.

Mark Wilson

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 11:32 a.m.

Look past RTW you will see the root cause and the proper solution to this problem. Pass marriage equality and partner benefits is just one of many fairness issues that is resolved.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 11:27 a.m.

Could you have at least had a photo of a mixed couple? You know...male and female? They lose benefits, too.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 6:22 p.m.

No, that point is for someone who truly has no clue.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 3:08 p.m.

That point is for the narrow minded folks.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 11:32 a.m.

They can get married, which is really the point here.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 11:25 a.m.

"Neither side knew of the implications of the domestic partner law. ... It did not come up in discussions because we didn't open the entire contract for full-blown negotiations." Really? The first, and most important, rule when signing a contract is to READ and DISCUSS the WHOLE thing! The law sucks but it's the law, hopefully the SCOTUS will rule in favor of equal rights for all and this will be a moot point. You had your chance Mrs. Carter and you FAILED.

Michigan Man

Tue, May 21, 2013 : 11:07 p.m.

Sounds like a Nancy Pelosi deal - need to activate the contract to find out what is in it!


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 3:06 a.m.

There is NOTHING int he contract about the issue. When the state changes the playing filed it is impossible to negotiate to everything. They wanted savings, got it, and then screwed many people.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 11:47 a.m.

It's not in the contract.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 11:20 a.m.

When one rushes to get something done, the details are in many cases, ignored. The board did no one (except the MEA) any favors in approving this contract, in a big rush. I am not in favor of the 2011 law, nor right to work, but I am even less in favor of a 5 year contract that locked a large number of work rules in place at a time when AAPS needed flexibility. Both sides at the bargaining table are a fault for this contract and its consequences - both intended and unintended. This contract locked the biggest single expense in place for 5 years for the district, leaving the only option to control this expense - laying off teachers.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 10:52 p.m.

elise - I was working off the document that was on boarddocs. I made the assumption that it was correct. When you brought up the 3 year time period, I went looking for other sources. I will wait until I see the actual contract on the AAPS website, where it should already be, before I comment again on the time period the contract runs.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 8:58 p.m.

Then if you don't know, and have heard more than one thing, why choose the longer time period as your "facts" at all. Why not say you've heard both. Are you trying to promote bad feelings toward the teaching staff. If my memory serves me right, you claim to be "pro-teacher". I have seen the contract language, it is 3. Now, you can spread the truth.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 7:57 p.m.

elise - Until the contract is posted on the AAPS website, like it should have already been. I can only use reported information. I can find 2 articles online that show a 3 year extension and 3 articles that show a 5 year extension. If you have the contract in hand, then I bow to your superior knowledge. Right now I will only admit to confusion, since AAPS has not dained to post the contract yet as required by state law.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 6:58 p.m.

Your "facts" are wrong Don. The teacher's contract was extended 3 years.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 6:26 p.m.

The agreement runs 5 years. The pay cut is for 1 year, but the contract is a 5 year extension of the contract according to what Mr. Comsa provided to the board.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 6:21 p.m.

What is this 5 year thing people are speaking of? The teachers agreed to a 3% paycut for one year. There was no 5 year contract agreed to or extend.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 11:04 a.m.

I blame the A2 legal team. How can attorneys involved in negotiating a multi million dollar contract not now the current laws???????? Get some new lawyers and advisors people, this is inexcusable.

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 1:49 p.m.

I agree.

Nick Danger

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 10:43 a.m.

Do those of you who have read this still believe Rick Snyder is a moderate republican?


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 3:50 p.m.

Suise Q: do you not realize that Snyder bargained in good faith with the union on prop 2, and said "he would not sign RTW if the unions would not try to change the constitution". The unions snubbed their noses and dared the republican legislature to try to enact it; and there you have it. So who do you think is to blame for this contract and the enactment of RTW??


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 3:44 p.m.

He never was a "moderate" republican. Let's just call him what he is - LIAR


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 3:03 a.m.

@ JBK, No, the RIGHT thing for Snyder to do would be to not sign the law or RTW. The fact that BOTH of these are involved means he is not a moderate by any stretch. He is Scott Walker. I see nothing that this guy has done that has been moderate. As for due dilegence, the district (and therefore the STATE) got a bonus with a pay cut to teachers. Then on top of that, some teachers will lose benefits which make that cut even larger. If the union had said no we wont renegotiate the district would have cried about their deficits.

Susie Q

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 11:54 p.m.

Yes, Mr Snyder cast himself as a very moderate Republican who was not interested in "social issues" or RTW; yet he signed this onerous piece of legislation that would strip familes of their health insurance because he doesn't like who they are. He didn't have to sign this law.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.

He could have not signed this law...


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 2:38 p.m.

Nick - Not sure I follow you here. ARE you blaming Snynder because the Union and School Board did NOT do their due dillegence BEFORE signing a contract that takes away a benefit for their members? What was Snyder supposed to do, call them up and point this out to them? :)


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 12:45 p.m.

Of course he is a moderate Republican. If he were radical right he would have asked for a clawback provision.


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 11:21 a.m.

Good point. When is it right to discriminate against a group because it saves money to do so?