Dems call changes to NC health plan “a slap in the face” (video)

The N.C. House is expected to give final approval to Senate Bill 265 on Thursday. The measure makes major changes to the State Health Plan covering thousands of state workers, teachers and retirees.

During Wednesday’s debate, Rep. Jennifer Weiss said many state employees felt “betrayed” that the state was planning to raise deductibles and charge workers a monthly insurance premium for the first time.

Freshman Rep. Jeff Collins said while this was his “first stint as a state employee” he did not realize that in addition to filling a $2.4 billion budget hole, he was going to be asked to fill a $515 million hole in the state health plan.

Durham County Rep. Mickey Michaux charged that Republicans could avoid placing this added burden on state workers if they would simply consider raising the state’s cigarette tax.

To hear the Representatives Weiss, Collins, Martin, Stam, and Michaux square off over S265, click below:

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17 Comments

  1. Frances

    March 30, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    As small business owner, I pay over $900.00 per month for a family policy. I have not had a raise in over five years. No sympathy here for the state workers and teachers, I am just trying to keep my door open and pay my taxes.

  2. Judy

    March 31, 2011 at 7:58 am

    As a state employee, I pay over $800.00 for my family per month. I have not had a pay raise in more than 3 years, have been denied my incentive pay for test scores and have had a furlough( read pay cut). So you see things are not as rosy for state workers as you think!

  3. Nonanonymous

    March 31, 2011 at 8:06 am

    The SHP should pay it’s own freight through premiums, copays and deductibles. No insurance is free, and asking someone else to pay for it is ludicrous. North Carolina is self insured, but it isn’t money that should come out of the general fund, it’s an obligation that state employees owe to themselves, the same as the pension fund.

    Socialistas and public employees know little about accountability, it’s time they learned some.

  4. Lou Meyers

    March 31, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Marvelous —- responsible workers squabbling amongst themselves about whose getting shafted the worst. This is all part of their grand design to keep us distracted and from gaining traction.

    A single payer system paid for with a VAT tax (elaborate sales tax) would catch the free riders (who despicably vote to keep it just the way it is, while we pick up their tab) and would give us ALL a stake in a fair and civilized health care system.

    If it’s not clear by now that the Affordable Care Act — with the insurance industry running the NC Exchange offering nothing but their deceptive and dangerous products — is a mockery of the worst order, then I have a health insurance company policy that I will sell you.

  5. WAFranklin

    March 31, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Nonannoymous above equates “Socialistas” (communists??) and state employees. What a stupid, untrue, mean and untrue allegation. You people cannot talk without words, like: “socialist”, “liberal” or “communist” being used to describe anyone who might disagree with you in the least way. I might use “rightwingnut” McCarthyite”, “flat earth people or American Taliban in the same way. I do not usually do so.”State employees do in fact pay for health insurance. And they do not flat out make as much as comparable private employees, particularly as they rise in ranks, lies to the contrary nothwithstanding. Yes, the Republicans and their fellow travelers on right fringe (i.e.tea party) want to divide the citizens and cloak their actions and rhetoric in hateful accusations. Thus the rich divide us! Thanks Pope. Thereby no good comes for the citizens, both the really true believers and the total skeptics. People should quite attacks on educators, women, minorities, the poor and get on with business as nonideologically as possible.

  6. gregflynn

    March 31, 2011 at 10:05 am

    The State Health Plan is an obligation the state owes to state employees. It part of the covenant when employees sign on – health coverage without premium with dependents added for a premium. There have always been fudge factors in deductibles, copays, coinsurance, covered services, out of network providers, and drug coverage. Those fudge factors have been manipulated to keep the employee coverage “free” and the employer contribution low even as out of pocket costs for the employee have risen. The employer contribution (currently $410.80 per month) is pre-tax earnings. It’s not a hand-out, it’s not “free”, it has been earned by the employee. Shifting the contribution burden to the employee is a de-facto pay cut which breaks the covenant.

    A basic 70/30 plan should continue to be employer contribution only. An employee premium to opt for an 80/20 or other better plan is not unreasonable. If the covenant is broken then the employee premium burden will continue to shift from the employer to the employee and every penny shifted is a pay cut.

  7. [...] to pay thousands a dollars a …NC House expected to OK State Health Plan changesWRAL.comDems call changes to NC health plan “a slap in the face” (video)The Progressive PulseHealthy moveNews & ObserverThe Republic -BusinessWeekall 53 news [...]

  8. AdamL

    March 31, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Not only is the State Health Plan an obligation to state employees, it’s just needed to attract great talent to public sector jobs. Do you want the best teachers in the country to teach in North Carolina? Do you want the best information technology professionals? Do you want the best investment advisers at the Treasurers office? Do you want the smartest budget experts at the General Assembly and in the universities?

    If so, then we have to be competitive with the private market and with other states.

  9. Alex

    March 31, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Where is it written that state employees should receive a no-premium health policy ? Most folks in the private sector have to contribute towards their health coverage. receive less days off, and have no pension plan. It’s a new world folks !

  10. gregflynn

    March 31, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    It’s written in state law. The law can be changed. People in the private and public sector are earning their health coverage, days off, pension plans. When the increased cost of an employer provided plan comes out of wages it’s a direct pay cut in both the public and private sector. So change the law, but don’t pretend it’s not a pay cut,

  11. Alex O.

    March 31, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    I can no longer afford both my premium and health care as a spouse on the SHP. Next year will be worse. I have MS and because I am offered the SHP I can’t go on the High Risk Pools which are more affordable. I can’t obviously drop the SHP. I basically pay in but do not use most services because of copays, deductibles, and co insurance.

    I do see a silver lining soon if more folks like me can’t afford work based insurance the whole system will fall apart and then people will be ready for a single payer system with insurance not tied to the work place.

  12. Lou Meyers

    March 31, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Exactly, Alex.

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  14. NC employee

    April 1, 2011 at 8:29 am

    I sympathize with the small business owners who have to pay expensive premiums. My partner is employed by one and is desperately searching for a new insurance provider so he won’t have to be part of the group. But Judy is correct that state employees are not in a much better situation if at all. Not to mention, that this one benefit was designed to make up for low state employee salaries. As a 30 plus year state employee living in the Triangle I can attest to witnessing years of watching fellow employees leave civil service to work at RTP where they receive better wages AND oftentimes better benefits. Anyone who thinks the wealthy Republicans are out to help the everyday American is sadly mistaken and we will reap the benefits of this “tax” revolution in the decades to come. If one can see how obvious it is by reading and listening WIDELY and openly that the corporations and the rich are fueling this debate, and pulling the wool over the eyes of Americans using the buzzwords of communism, socialism, and the like, it’s a sad day in America.

  15. Scott

    April 1, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Can someone explain to me why we can’t create a health care plan for all government officials and state workers, whereby they all use the UNC Healthcare system and pay a fair commonsense premium? It makes no sense to create and fund a state run health care system, and then not require all government officials and workers to use it as their source of health care. Why do we need a middle man for health care of government and state workers? The state has doctors on it payroll. The state builds and pays for hospitals. Just have the workers use the states doctors and hospitals. Why is that so hard?

  16. Employee of the NC

    April 1, 2011 at 9:10 am

    I, too, am a long term state employee. I am very concerned with some of the comments about state employees that are derisive. State employees include teachers, professionals, technical and trade workers, state highway patrol officers, and those who work for the University system. The majority of state workers work hard. However, there are those who give us little recognition for our contributions. The issues are not about state employees and their political affiliations. This is about the crisis in the health care industry and the state of health insurance. Add up the costs to state employees over the last 3 to 5 years. Think about those who make very low wages and are employed by the state and continue to do so because one of the great benefits has been health insurance coverage. I pay the entire cost of covering my son. The increases in premiums for his coverage, along with higher co-pays, higher deductibles and co-insurance for both of us have ended up being a pay cut for me. I too have friends who own small businesses. The cost of covering their employees is astronomical; yet, to keep quality workers and employees, they are willing to continue to provide them with health insurance, some still pay the entire amount for their employees coverage.

  17. UNC Employee

    April 4, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I’m wondering more about the overall cuts to the benefit, than the copay…the copay seems like a distraction to hide what else might be underneath? I need to read the bill….