Representatives of city uniformed and non-uniformed employees were emphatic before the City Board
tonight that the city should abandon the health plan offered by the Arkansas Municipal League
and go with United Healthcare
, and that is exactly what the board voted to do. A consultant to the city had recommended the city drop the Municipal League.
, director of the local American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees union, said the United plan was "too damned expensive for most of our members, but it’s a better plan" offering at least "some protections for consumers."
Last year, the Little Rock Fraternal Order of Police called for Mayor Mark Stodola's resignation as president of the Arkansas Municipal League
after the city switched from QualChoice to the AML plan. Tonight, John Gilchrist
, representing the FOP, said that retired city employees who've left the state have to return to Arkansas to treat major illnesses because of the Municipal League's insufficient coverage for out-of-state care. (In state, over $20,000, coverage is 100 percent; out of state, it's 80 percent for all care, Municipal League Director Don Zimmerman
told the board tonight.)
Firefighters union head Richard Moorehead
said a 27-year-old firefighter who had cancer was denied a hysterectomy by the AML plan, characterizing it as elective, and said members have had to fight to have their claims paid. Another woman whose firefighter father had to be treated at MD Anderson in Houston for his cancer said the AML denied their attempts to get his medication paid for for four months and denied their request to bring him home by Medflight, though he had "massive blod clots" in his lung and legs. His job was to save people, she said, but there was no one to help him.
The insurance was on the consent agenda originally, but was voted on separately at the request of City Director Kathy Webb.
The board will now proceed to the Clinton Presidential Center,
where it will hear from state Highway and Transportation Department director Scott Bennett
and Connecting Arkansas Program head Jerry Holder
why the state should spend half a billion dollars (at the least) widening I-30 to 10 lanes in downtown Little Rock, cutting off the River Rail trolley line and access from west to east under I-30 on Second and Fourth streets, et cetera. That starts at 7 p.m.