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State Sen. Declan O'Scanlon. Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

O’Scanlon praises Sweeney, NJEA health plan

By Nikita Biryukov, March 09 2020 5:34 pm

State Sen. Declan O’Scanlon offered halting praise for Senate President Steve Sweeney’s proposed reforms to health plans offered to New Jersey Education Association members.

“Ultimately, the devil is in the details but this looks like a major, long sought after victory for Sweeney, NJEA members and — most of all — taxpayers.” O’Scanlon said.

Sweeney and NJEA President Marie Blistan on Monday announced legislation creating new health plans that they say would create more than $1 billion in savings annually, with $670 million going to local school districts and $403 million going to NJEA members.

The new plans would have employees pay a percentage of their salary instead of a percentage of their premium pegged to their salary.

O’Scanlon, a moderate Republican whose vote is sometimes instrumental to passing controversial legislation backed by Sweeney, said he’s skeptical about that reform but is still regarding the plan favorably.

“If we do this right, I’m hopeful, and Senator Sweeney is hopeful, that a significant level of these savings can be realized this coming year when many of our school districts are facing state aid cuts,” he said. “That would be great news all the way around.”

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