Republican members of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today criticized the state treasurer for not responding to nine pages of budget questions and data requests regarding state health insurance plans for public employees submitted seven months ago.
Republican Senate Leader Steven Oroho, Republican Budget Director Declan O’Scanlon, Sen. Sam Thompson and Sen. Michael Testa again called on Treasurer Muoio to finally admit his lack of transparency and failure to provide responsive responses. routine budget questions and data requests that are answered every year (except this one) as part of the budget process.
In addition, Republican members have submitted new requests for Treasury Department documents that: (1) explain and quantify various unimplemented proposals (including constructive proposals advanced by public servant unions) that would reduce employee bonuses. Health Insurance ; and (2) the impact on taxpayers of capping government employee bonus sharing increases at 3% and requiring taxpayers to pay the difference.
Failing to admit a lack of transparency ensures the problem won’t be fixed, and failing to provide the requested new cost-control information will make it more likely that the government’s 22% health cost increases will be repeated next year.
The full text of the letter is below (click here for a PDF with attachments):
October 21, 2022
Dear treasurer I die,
As you know, on March 14, the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services (OLS) submitted a 9-page information request (containing multiple data requests and 27 individual questions, attached here for your reference) regarding benefits state-run health care programs for civil servants and retirees and the Treasury Department have yet to provide a substantive response. Surely you should be aware that the ministry responded to a June 8 request for a response from the OLS stating that substantial responses were still being prepared and, in response to another July 19 request, responded that the responses were still not provided. So, we were perplexed to learn that just yesterday you doubled down in front of reporters on earlier baffling claims that you were transparent and did not withhold information during the budget process (and after). Again, we ask that you make the substantial response to the OLS March 14 questions and data request immediately available or, finally, simply admit that you did indeed withhold information and that you did not have not answered.
Additionally, yesterday we officially submitted an Open Public Records Act request (W192270) seeking information and estimates related to some health benefit savings ideas that could help improve premium rate increases. As you know, the Department’s access to claims and work product information from its healthcare consultant, AON, gives it the unique ability to produce the information requested. The request related to the following:
- Documents prepared since January 1, 2020 explaining ideas or options for premium savings SHBP and SEHBP that have not been implemented to date, including and any related work products prepared by AON or departmental estimates premium savings for them. This request includes, but is not limited to, the list of options provided to all plan design committees in advance of their August 11 meetings.
- Documents, including any AON work products, assessing or estimating the financial impacts of proposed resolutions submitted by SHBP plan union representatives
Design Committee and State Health Benefits Review Commission before
its meetings of September 14, 2022;
- Documents, including any work product of AON, valuing or estimating premium savings
attributable to plan design changes supported by the SHBP Plan Design Committee or
State Health Benefits Review Board at meetings on September 14, 2022; and
- Documents, including AON’s work product, pricing and rating
employees are affected by, and the cost or financial impact of, capping increases in state employee bonus sharing at 3% – whether as reflected in a “memorandum of understanding” by and between the state and certain public employee unions on or about September 14, or any other agreement.
By this letter, we request that the above information be provided in accordance with our common law right of access – in addition to our rights under the Open Public Record Act – as we require this information in our capacity respectively as members of the Senate. Budget and Appropriations Committee. If the information is not provided to us under our common law right of access, we request a list of the documents refused and a reason for each refusal.
We look forward to receiving this information soon given your statements to reporters yesterday that you have been fully transparent and have provided similar information to others, but certainly not with us – and not, to our knowledge, with the OLS or other legislators on either side of the wing.
Steven V. Oroho
Declan J. O’Scanlon, Jr.
Samuel D. Thompson
Michael L. Testa, Jr.
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