@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Another speedbump for State Health Plan fix

Posted April 20, 2011

It all seemed to be going so well for Senate Bill 323 today.

The latest proposal to staunch the red ink in the State Health Plan made it through its initial House vote Tuesday with some partisan wrangling.  But the two parties came together this afternoon to support an amendment by Rep.Tim Moore, R-Cleveland. 

Moore's amendment removed the premium for lower-tier coverage for active state employees. Plan members and retirees would still have to pay a premium for better coverage, but both groups could keep basic health insurance for free.  

The NC Association of Educators had sought that change, arguing that forcing workers to start paying premiums would amount to a pay cut - a concern also voiced by Gov. Bev Perdue when she vetoed the first version of the measure, Senate Bill 265.  

"That’s the part most folks seem to have heartburn with," Moore said. “And I understand the Governor’s office would find this agreeable.”

Minority Leader Joe Hackney took a phone call from Perdue on the House floor just before session. “I do think that if the bill reached the governor in this form, she would sign it.” Hackney said. “This would solve the problem.”

The amendment even had the approval of House Insurance chairman Jerry Dockham, R-Davidson, who said that with the amendment, “This truly is a compromise bill.” 

The premium change would cost the state about $16 million dollars, House Republicans said - $11 million from the General Fund, and $5 million from the Highway Trust Fund, which pays for some state workers' coverage.   

Moore's amendment passed 116-1, and the measure passed its final House vote, 83-34. 

Not so fast 

The bill's whirlwind trip to the governor's desk came to a screeching halt in the Senate, where a concurrence motion was defeated 48-0 at the request of bill sponsor Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson.

After the vote, Apodaca said he was concerned about the new price tag.

"They removed premiums and set up additional costs that we hadn't budgeted for," Apodaca said. "They didn't tell me where they were gonna get the extra money from, and I don't know, so that's one thing we've gotta look at." 

"Our folks are pretty well dug in," he added. "We've allocated all the monies to the State Health Plan that we're going to at this point. So we've really gotta take a look at it."

Conferees have already been appointed to try to come up with a compromise on the measure. House GOP leaders are hoping to send the bill to Perdue's desk by Friday.  

9 Comments

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  • superman Apr 25, 2011

    If having to pay for health insurance is indeed a pay cut then take it. Lot better to have a pay cut than no pay. Better to pay for health insurance than not have it. There arent many free things left.

  • pUnKiSh Apr 25, 2011

    "They fur-low them for 10 days" - ncteach10
    That's simply NOT TRUE! Teachers, along with ALL state employees, were furloughed for 10 hours last year - NOT 10 DAYS!

  • ratherbnwpb Apr 22, 2011

    "I agree, why are we not discussing letting the rich support the people."

    Because it's not their responsibility, Comrade Teacher.

    Let's repeat this. It is NOT anyone's responsibility to pay for your benefits.

    Try that again.

    It's not anyone's responsibility to pay for anyone else's health and welfare.

    Repeat again.

    It's OUR OWN RESPONSIBILITY to take care of ourselves.

    Not the government.

    Not rich people.

    YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN WELL BEING.
    RKBA

    Now that your out of breath with this nonsense!

    wanna bet? You shall and you will! Get over it!

  • WRALSUCKS Apr 21, 2011

    "They fur-low them for 10 days...."

    Fur-low?

    And let me get this straight.

    You're a teacher?

  • WRALSUCKS Apr 21, 2011

    "I agree, why are we not discussing letting the rich support the people."

    Because it's not their responsibility, Comrade Teacher.

    Let's repeat this. It is NOT anyone's responsibility to pay for your benefits.

    Try that again.

    It's not anyone's responsibility to pay for anyone else's health and welfare.

    Repeat again.

    It's OUR OWN RESPONSIBILITY to take care of ourselves.

    Not the government.

    Not rich people.

    YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN WELL BEING.

  • WRALSUCKS Apr 21, 2011

    Vote RINO Moore out of office too.

    I'm sick and tired of representatives NOT DOING WHAT THEY WERE ELECTED TO DO!

  • ncteach10 Apr 21, 2011

    I agree, why are we not discussing letting the rich support the people. Instead we look at the teachers to step up again and again. They fur-low them for 10 days, freeze their pay for 3 years. Increase class sizes, raise standards for "Race to the Top" and don't for get "No Child Left Behind" now we are going to put more kids to one teacher, reduce drop out, (right) and cut the teacher assistance while making them pay more for insurance. But at least these people have a job, the people who went to school for 4 years to make less than someone with a 2 year degree. Most have to get their Masters to make a living and take on 2nd jobs to support their families. Why don't some of the Senate and House VOLUNTEER their times to issue EOG and EOC testing, read with students, help with math or just control some classrooms. We could cut so much money if we would CUT the EOG and some more EOC. Begin to look at growth of the students over a year based on County Assessments and benchmarks.

  • stanmak Apr 21, 2011

    "i think we should increase taxes on the rich and give out more free gov't services." - bev purdue & laura leslie

  • weasel2 Apr 21, 2011

    I guess the gov and the rest are going to work on the Good Friday Holiday. NOT. They probably won't return until June.