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Senate Republicans 'send a message' on State Health Plan

Posted April 14, 2011

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— State Senate Republicans voted Thursday to override Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of their attempt to reform the State Health Plan.

The plan, which serves about 663,000 state workers, teachers, retirees and their dependents, is projected to be $515 million in the red by 2013. State lawmakers tried to bridge that gap by cutting benefits, raising co-pays and deductibles and charging workers a monthly premium for the first time in the plan’s history.

In her veto message Wednesday night, Perdue said the mandatory premium amounted to a tax on teachers who are already ranked 45th for pay nationally and who haven’t had a raise in years. The state teachers’ group had opposed the bill.

Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, said Perdue shouldn’t be allowed to control the state.

“We’re here, and we’re not going away,” Apodaca said. “I want to send a message to our friend.”

Republicans control 31 of the 50 seats in the state Senate, so they easily mustered the three-fifths vote required to override the veto in that chamber. But House Republicans say they won’t try to follow suit.

House Speaker Thom Tillis said a compromise bill is likely next week. He said the governor called earlier Thursday to see “if there was something we could do to work on it.”

“I’ve made it clear that I’m open to meeting with her,” said Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, adding that he’s willing to consider changing the premium requirement to win Perdue’s approval.

Whatever compromise emerges, it needs to come quickly, Tillis said. Next Thursday is the deadline to make changes to the plan that could save the state $90 million.

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  • lalaloo Apr 15, 2011

    I can't get why state employees don't just find another profession if they are that unhappy with their compensation.girlwonders

    Well, since no one is hiring at the moment, that is hard to do. If hiring ever picks up again, I will be leaving. I worked in private industry for 9 years and I have been with the state for 9 years. I was far better off with private industry 9+ years ago than I am now. I would like to pay my bills with my "compensation" package but they all want money. I would like to know what it is you think they are giving us in lieu of money? We pay 6% into our retirement fund, we pay excessive rates for dependent insurance coverage. We also work overtime w/o pay. I have never gotten any comp. time or extended sick leave. I am making $11,000 less in this job per year than I was in my private industry job and that was 9+ years ago! I was promised things that either never happened or are now being repealed. You can not continue to balance the state budget on the

  • drjones74 Apr 15, 2011

    Dear private sector employees. The fact that you unilaterally despise State employees means that the politicos have succeeded. We have degenerated into a beotch-fest about who gets screwed more often. You or us. Private sector gets it better in good times, and worse in bad times. State peaks and valleys are more leveled off.
    My last comment of the day is that is State pay policy to pay below market based on qualifications. Fact.

  • girlwonders Apr 15, 2011

    If they would put the plan up for bid to insurance companies we could get a better rate. You can not compare private industry w/ state employment, it's apples to oranges. I don't get why people do not understand that.

    I can't get why state employees don't just find another profession if they are that unhappy with their compensation. I have been in the same field for 17 years, work 12 - 14 hour days to get my job done, seldom use all my vacation time, work at home, weekends, holidays, and pay for my health insurance. I don't get comp time, overtime, or extended sick time. By the time you figure in all the hours I work, I probably make 12$ an hour. I think folks who are with the state fail to realize that their compensation package is in line with the average private sector employee. Everyone out here isn't making 6 figures, and we take pay cuts, work more hours for free, all kinds of things so that we don't get cut in a downsizing. It is tough all over. People have to make sacri

  • jaydosse Apr 15, 2011

    Will the "politicians" please explain why we are locked into the BCBS plan as State Employees, with no alternative choices.

    Allow other providers to compete with BCBS and you will see how fast the rates come down.

    I had to drop my spouse because I could not afford to pay $580.00 per month just to cover her and family.

    It is not the minimal premium for the employee that hurts , it trying to afford to pay for spouse and family when earning less than $28,000 per year. No raises in three years combined with low wages, just about classifies a family of 4 as being in a poverty status.

    CORRUPTION!!! CORRUPTION!!! INCOMPETENCE and a refusal by our "leaders" to allow competition to to rule the game!!

  • 2nckayakers Apr 15, 2011

    I am a state employee (typing this on my time) and do not mind paying a portion of my health insurance for myself if that means saving someone else's job. My problem is the decreased benefits. Leave my deductible, copays, etc alone and I'll pay more than $22 per month. This is going to happen regardless if state employees like it or not. State of NC pays $410.80 per month for every state employee's employee only health insurance coverage. Employee's pay anywhere from $178.68 to $580.44 per month for dependents/spouse/family coverage depending on which plan they elect. Being a cancer victim who can't get any assistance with overwhelming medical bills because I have a job. People can't afford not to have health insurance, but yet we can't afford to have it either. Just leave my benefits alone, please!!

  • sg0544 Apr 15, 2011

    "How can BCBSNC insure my child for almost $100 less a month with lower co-pays on a *private* plan than the State of NC on a *group* plan." -lalaloo

    Look at who is part of the group the state of NC is covering. The majority of people covered under the state plan are older retirees and people who have health problems that make it impossible to get insurance on their own. The money you were paying to insure your child under the state health plan was helping to defer the cost of insuring people with health issues who weren't paying a premium. Unfortunately the state has now priced out many healthy individuals, like your child. These people can get better coverage for less money on their own. As healthy individuals leave the group the state insures it will only become harder to keep the state health plan solvent.

  • lalaloo Apr 15, 2011

    You may be correct with your math, but the state employee is only paying the 580 a month. That is in line with what private sector pays, actually a couple hundred a month cheaper. Of course, our employers pay part of our coverage as well. You can thank insurance companies for the high rates.
    girlwonders
    ####################################
    Too bad state salaries are not "in line" with the private sector. We do not have a plan through an insurance company, the State Health Plan is self supporting. If they would put the plan up for bid to insurance companies we could get a better rate. You can not compare private industry w/ state employment, it's apples to oranges. I don't get why people do not understand that.

  • kristalrose29 Apr 15, 2011

    This sickens me. I already have to worry about the education my children get and the safety of the county I reside in because crime is on the rise. Sooo, the rich, arrogant people that got voted in by the sheep who believe every lie on Fox News and Talk Raido want to take more of the people's money that we depend on every day. We show them that we do not value them by doing things like this. I am so sad. I want all those people out of government! They do not care about my community or my kids! They care about their money!

  • MillerB Apr 15, 2011

    Imagine that....Republicans trying to shaft teachers. Big surprise there.

  • lalaloo Apr 15, 2011

    I was paying $243/month for 1 small child with no health issues on the State Helath Plan. $900 deductible, $30 primary co-pay, $60 specialist co-pay and $75 urgent care copay on this wonderful State Health Plan. I dropped the coverage and went to BCBSNC, same child, $1000 deductible, $15 primary co-pay, $30 specialist co-pay, $30 urgent care copay, for $151/month.

    How can BCBSNC insure my child for almost $100 less a month with lower co-pays on a *private* plan than the State of NC on a *group* plan. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out someone is getting ripped off and it's the State employee.

    I do not mind paying some for my insurance if they would put the plan up for bid and get us the cheapest rates. Or give me the $500 the "lawmakers" say they have to put out for my premium and I will buy my own insurance. Win-Win! None of those things will ever happen. Somebody is lining their pockets.

    Wake up, it's not the State employess that are the problem, it's the p

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