While private-sector workers have been paying anywhere from 20 to 30 percent of their health care costs for years, government workers have, traditionally, had better health care plans at far lesser costs—all at taxpayers' expense.
In New Jersey, which is facing crippling budget deficits and nearly insurmountable debt, state workers currently pay 1.5 percent of their salary and about 8 percent of the cost of premiums. While the Democrat Senate President, Steve Sweeney, is proposing a plan to save taxpayers $206 million over three years and the primary state-workers' union, the Communications Workers of America, is proposing a $240 cost savings, Christie unveiled his plan to save an annual $871 million once it is fully phased in:
The Christie administration on Monday laid out more details of the GOP governor's proposal. Under it, current workers would pay 10 percent of their health care premiums beginning in July; 17 percent in January; 23 percent in January 2013; and 30 percent by July 2014.
New hires would pay 30 percent toward their premiums immediately.
In addition, the plan calls for increasing co-pays and giving workers more health plans from which to choose, but those details have not yet been laid out.
"Ultimately, we project annual savings at $871 million once the 30 percent premium share is fully implemented in 2014," state Treasury Department spokesman William Quinn said.
It's a start to rein in a runaway train and it is not without its union detractors.
The question is, will it be enough?
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776