GLAA endorses Domestic Partnership health insurance bills
Related Links

Bill 16-129

Bill 16-0032

ACLU endorses Domestic Partnership enhancement bill 05/16/05

D.C. Council Bill 16-52

GLAA Testifies on Domestic Partnership enhancement bill 05/12/05

Gay Marriage Overreaction (Editorial, The Washington Post) 05/14/05

GLAA update on gay couples, Congress, and the District 05/04/05

Gays in D.C. May Not File Jointly (TWP) 05/04/05

Update to GLAA members on marriage fight in D.C. 04/20/05

Married D.C. Gay Couples Can File Taxes Jointly (TWP) 04/20/05

GLAA Statement on Bill 16-52 01/31/05

Open letter: Preparing to oppose an anti-gay ballot initiative 12/19/04

GLAA Celebrates Expansion of the District of Columbia DP Law 09/21/04

Talking points for meetings with members of Congress 05/16/04

Rosendall Speaks at Rally Against Marriage Discrimination 03/03/04

GLAA on marriage and families


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GLAA endorses Domestic Partnership
health insurance bills

GLAA Testimony on Bill 16-0032


GAY AND LESBIAN ACTIVISTS ALLIANCE OF WASHINGTON
Fighting for Equal Rights Since 1971
P. O. Box 75265
Washington, D.C. 20013

Testimony on Bill 16-0129,
The Health Care Benefits Expansion Amendment Act of 2005

Delivered before the Committee on the Government Operations

July 7, 2005


Good morning, Chairman Orange, Councilmembers and fellow citizens.

My name is Bob Summersgill. I am the treasurer of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C. (GLAA), the oldest continuously active gay and lesbian civil rights organization in the country.

We are in favor of this legislation and we are pleased that Councilmembers Kathy Patterson and Jack Evans have introduced the bill. We would also like to thank the billís ten co-sponsors, Ambrose, Brown, Catania, Cropp, Fenty, Gray, Graham, Mendelson, Orange, and Schwartz.

The bill will address a significant failing of the original Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992 by providing health insurance benefits for domestic partners equal to that of existing family plans. The original law allowed D.C. government employees to purchase medical insurance coverage for their partners, but with no contribution by the D.C. government. Any other family members covered would have 75% of the cost paid for by the D.C. government. The budget crisis at the time required that the legislation be revenue neutral.

The estimated costs of $231,000 in FY 2006, $508,200 in FY 2007, and $559,020 in FY 2008 are extremely modest and should be welcomed by the Council as a way to provide uninsured people the much less costly employer plan. Employers who provide domestic partner health benefits report an easier time in recruiting qualified employees and an improvement in employee morale.

Even with this legislation, the District still will not be treating domestic partners as equal to other family members in the cost of health insurance. Premiums paid by the D.C. government, or any other employer, for the health insurance of a domestic partner are taxable benefits. The same premium paid for family members is not. In this case D.C. follows the federal governmentís taxation formula, but all we do is create a disincentive for getting the uninsured into private health care. Although the Council cannot correct the federal governmentís taxation error, the District tax needs to be rescinded.

We also support including the employees hired before October 1, 1987 in this legislation as bill 15-0032, the Equitable Expansion of Health Care Benefits Amendment Act of 2005, seeks to bring that group into the limited benefits currently available. Ideally, the two bills will be combined by this committee to eliminate any confusion.

This legislation brings D.C. forward in supporting employees with domestic partners and makes the District government a more competitive employer. We hope that you will be able to move this legislation forward quickly.

Thank you, I am available to answer any questions that you may have.


Testimony on Bill 16-0032,
Equitable Expansion of Health Care Benefits Amendment Act of 2005

Delivered before the Committee on the Government Operations

July 7, 2005


Good morning, Chairman Orange, Councilmembers and fellow citizens.

My name is Bob Summersgill. I am the treasurer of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C. (GLAA), the oldest continuously active gay and lesbian civil rights organization in the country.

GLAA supports bill Equitable Expansion of Health Care Benefits Amendment Act of 2005. District government employees should not be penalized for their long service.

We appreciate Councilmember Graham for introducing the bill.

A decision was made for the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992 to only consider the District government employees who were not enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Care Benefits Program. While this was a reasonable decision at the time, the growing inequity in options for those employees with domestic partners must now be addressed. This bill will remove the disincentive to continued long-term employment with the D.C. government and help make the District a more desirable employer.

At the May 20, 2004 the Committee on the Government Operations hearing on Bill 15-0751, Equitable Expansion of Health Care Benefits Amendment Act of 2004, questions were raised about how to administer this bill once it becomes law. We hope that these technical details have been, or can be, worked out. The idea of using an outside vendor seems unreasonably cumbersome and costly, but we would not object to such an approach if an internal solution could not be found.

We also support the District government paying for 75% of the premiums for the covered employees as bill 15-0129, the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 2005, seeks to do with the employees hired after October 1, 1987. Ideally, the two bills will be combined by this committee to eliminate any confusion.

Thank you, I am available to answer any questions that you may have.


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