Candidate: Cut Health Benefits for Librarians, Garbage Collectors

matt mayorChapel Hill mayoral candidate Matt Czajkowski may not say so on his campaign website, but several stories – most recently in the News and Observer – have made clear that one of his priorities if elected would be to significantly cut health insurance benefits for town employees in order to lower taxes.

Given that Chapel Hill probably leads North Carolina in people per capita calling Congress to urge expansion of affordable health coverage in the current national health debate, Czajkowski’s strategy is puzzling. He did vote against extending lifetime health insurance benefits (a decision later reversed) to former town council members last year, but why go after town employees now?

I wonder if candidate Czajkowski can look the guys in the face who come by and pick up his trash every week and tell them he needs to cut their health benefits in wealthy Chapel Hill. How about the town librarians – perhaps he could gather them around to explain why it’s so necessary to chop their health benefits (but only after they check out his books for him). Maybe he’ll stop next time he’s at one of Chapel Hill’s many parks and tell the men and women spreading mulch, planting trees and fixing the playground equipment why their health benefits need to be cut so his taxes can be lowered.

It’s amazing someone could take a position like this given what we’ve all learned over the last few months about the horrible problems people who don’t have adequate health insurance face in our country. However, it really shouldn’t be that surprising. Many people – including many in Congress – are profoundly disconnected from the realities of our health insurance mess. Czajkowski just joins the long line of well-insured, comfortable (he’s retired at 60 years old), politicians who have no idea what people like Alex, who related her story below, have to go through every day in our system.

5 Comments

  1. north state politics

    October 13, 2009 at 9:28 am

    One can only hope that he will get “trashed” on election day.

  2. CH_GOTV_2009

    October 13, 2009 at 9:29 am

    The Town Council’s June 2008 Consent Agenda vote gave Council members (past, present and future) LIFETIME health care if they served only two terms (4 or 8 years). UNTIL THAT CONSENT AGENDA VOTE SUCCEEDED, THERE WAS NO FOCUS ON TOWN EMPLOYEE HEALTH CARE COSTS. KLEINSCHMIDT, EASTOM AND HARRISON ARE SQUARELY TO BLAME FOR MAKING IT AN ISSUE. Quoting the N&O’s Orange Chat October 8, 2009 regarding Town of Chapel Hill health care benefits “eight members voted for it even though the 9th member asked you to delay the decision. That is why people still wonder about the motivations – not one other member was willing to slow down and hear citizen input or request financial data on the expected costs. Why the rush has never been explained.”

    Matt Czajkowski was the 9th member. He begged them to slow down, hear from citizens and examine the taxpayer cost burden. Matt Czajkowski tried to take it off the table. Kleinschmidt, Easthom and Harrison failed to follow his prudent guidance.

  3. Adam Searing

    October 13, 2009 at 9:38 am

    That seems like too much inside politics for me! All I’m saying is that I can’t believe Mr. Czajkowski is telling the guys who come by his house busting their butts to pick up his garbage that he’s got to cut their health benefits because he wants lower taxes.

  4. RedWhiteBlue

    October 14, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Not inside politics at all, but straight from Czajkowski to News and Observer to you:

    http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local_state/story/132888.html

    “”Czajkowski is a retired pharmaceutical industry executive who lives in The Oaks near Chapel Hill Country Club and raised more than $17,000 in the first two months of the campaign. An unaffiliated voter in this nonpartisan election, he wants to limit residential taxes by promoting business development and cutting expenses such as employee benefits.

    “The terms of our [health-care] plans are better than just about anything,” said Czajkowski after a recent candidates forum.””

  5. Adam Searing

    October 14, 2009 at 10:06 am

    That does bring up an interesting point – just what health care benefits for the guys who pick up his trash, librarians, etc. does Czajkowski want to cut and what would be the savings? Maybe he could jettison maternity care – that should lower costs. Or how about not covering drugs – given his background, he probably knows how much that would save.

    He’s just another example of another in a long line of politicians fighting against health care reform who have no idea of the problems low and moderate income people face affording health care today in North Carolina.

    Too bad he can’t put his expertise to helping expand affordable options for coverage instead of working to limit care.