A meeting is set for tomorrow to hash out the health care coverage for Shreveport City employees and retirees. It will be held at 3pm at Riverview Hall.

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But the Mayor and the Health Care Trust Fund Board are getting another loud message about the proposed changes from the Shreveport Police Officers Association. President of the SPOA Michael Carter writes:

We have watched the debate regarding the City of Shreveport health insurance with careful optimism. To imagine the narrowing of our health care system to only one of our local providers is unacceptable.

We think highly of the Ochsner's Hospital and their medical staff. We work daily with their services and service providers throughout the course of our professional and personal lives. Not one member of the SPOA has displayed any negative feeling about the Ochsner providers. If a city employee wants to use Ochsner's for their family medical needs, we support them.

But members of the SPOA and other city workers and retirees are concerned they would lose access to use doctors and providers from Willis Knighton without paying much higher prices.

The SPOA adds:

For the entire adult lives of every city employee and city retiree, the Willis Knighton Network of major hospitals and medical providers has been a cornerstone of Shreveport and Bossier City. Why would any city official, of any capacity, consider narrowing the city’s insurance to the point that a city employee would have to pay more to get local service? That is unacceptable to all of us at SPOA.

The SPOA opposition to the proposed change which would make Ochsner's a Tier 1 plan while putting Willis Knighton as a Tier 2 plan has also resulted in talk about legal and political action.

"The Shreveport Police Officers Association is making a formal statement against a narrowed medical insurance for city employees. We will litigate any and all matters that would stop the Health Care Trust Fund Board if it votes to increase costs when we use a local doctor or hospital. Creating a greater cost  to city employees when they use local medical facilities is unacceptable."

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"We have patiently listened for sound reason that provides logic or common sense for a narrow plan. We have not heard anything that makes sense concerning a narrowed plan. We will begin a formal campaign against anyone who supports such a plan to narrow our health benefits. We urge all involved to take every precaution to enhance, not narrow our access to medical benefits for active and retired members of the City of Shreveport. We understand costs. We want you to understand loyalty to your employees and retirees after years of service to the city."

Once a decision is made by the Health Care Trust Fund Board, the City Council would have to approve the plan.

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