Wednesday, December 6, 2006

What Sonny Didn't Want Teachers to Know

If someone spends their life teaching Georgia's children, the State ought to honor the commitments made to them regarding their retirement. Yet, with escalating healthcare costs, driven at least in part by the unwillingness of this administration to cross insurance or drug companies and in part by the sheer number of retirees, the Associated Press has discoverd throgh open records requests and is reporting that for more than a year, the Perdue administration has been exploring raising premiums or eliminating health insurance all together for teachers and other retired state employees. The Department of Community Health has even requested an opinion from the Attorney General's Office regarding "advice regarding the nature and scope of the state's legal obligation to provide health benefits to retirees under Georgia law." This is very bad news. Here are portions of the AP article, written by Shannon McCaffrey. I should be able to provide a link to the whole article tomorrow.

ATLANTA (AP) _ Georgia faces a mounting price tag that could reach $20 billion in the coming years to cover health benefits already promised to tens of thousands of retired teachers and other state employees.

The cost is so staggering that Gov. Sonny Perdue is considering hiking premiums or eliminating health care benefits altogether for state retirees, according to e-mails obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request....

An Oct. 5, 2005, e-mail from Neal Childers of the state Department of Community Health, said that he had been instructed to prepare draft legislation authorizing the state to set different premiums for retirees than for current state employees.
Childers also went on to say in that e-mail that the state Office of Planning and Budget "is now considering elimination of benefits."


Tina said...

Thanks, Amy, for posting this. It may interest you to know that, as a retired educator, I have been trying to find out specifics of how SHBP will cover retirees' prescription costs when they hit the medicare "gap." We were pretty much told we had to sign up for Part D or our insurance rates would go WAY up. Now that I have hit the medicare "gap," I would like specifics from SHBP like "how much" and "for how long" etc.

Anonymous said...

You called this one, Amy. Good job! I only wish that more people had listened.

Kathy said...

I was very surprised that this revelation didn't make more difference in our election results, especially in my county. My mother called every school office in the county to advise them about this development, to no apparent avail.

Aside from the obvious fallout from this incredibly callous move,
there is the chilling effect it will have in recruiting teachers and other state workers. Allegedly, we are after the best and the brightest. But will they be willing to sacrifice future security to serve our children? They have enough challenges with the classroom and the bureaucratic nightmare of "No Child Left Behind" - a misnomer if ever there was one.

It is difficult to not at least think cuss words whenever Perdue has a new proposal. You know whatever it is, the most vunerable and the least able will pay the price for his myopic, greedy priorities.