In this year’s state budget, Gov. Nathan Deal made it clear that he wanted to take health care coverage away from Georgia bus drivers, cafeteria workers and other “non-certified school employees.”
Thanks to your actions, the governor now knows that he can’t make these cuts head-on. Instead, he’s created a shell game that would hurt communities across Georgia.
The governor’s proposed cuts would take insurance away from more than 21,000 workers, most of whom would then fall into the coverage gap created by Gov. Deal’s stubborn refusal to accept the federal funding that Georgians have already paid into the Medicaid system.
Fortunately, more than 12,500 Georgians raised their voices and told Gov. Deal and their local representatives that the people responsible for transporting our kids and feeding them while they’re at school work hard and have earned the right to be able to able to see a doctor when they need to. They’ve earned respect.
Together, we told our part-time lawmakers they should cut their own health insurance benefits before they take coverage away from our school bus drivers and cafeteria workers.
That’s when Georgia’s lawmakers decided to do what they do best: pass the buck.
Their plan is simple: Make local school districts foot the health care bill.
From the AJC: Georgia House leaders rejected Gov. Nathan Deal’s plan to cut health insurance benefits to 22,000 part-time school employees and their families, but local school districts would wind up picking up the tab.
The $103 million local districts would have to pay in additional “contributions” to the State Health Benefit Plan for so-called “noncertified” system workers would severely eat into the extra money Deal and lawmakers promised schools to give teachers raises, eliminate furloughs and add back class time.
Many of Georgia’s school districts are already struggling to stay open for a full 180-day school year thanks to Gov. Deal’s budget cuts.
But now the governor has the nerve to call his plan an “issue of fairness.” His “fairness” plan is to take health care coverage away from tens of thousands of Georgia schools workers and their families but to leave part-time lawmakers unchanged.
That’s right. Deal’s plan would allow part-time lawmakers — who work at The Gold Dome for about two-and-a-half months out of the year — to keep their health coverage. And if they they serve just four two-year terms, Georgia lawmakers can get taxpayer-subsidized health insurance for life.
There is no plan proposed to shift the cost of health care coverage for our lawmakers to local communities. And there is no plan to shift the cost of health care coverage for teachers or other state employees to local communities.
It’s clear that Gov. Deal does not value the work of our bus drivers and cafeteria workers.
This is hypocrisy at its worst.
Many school bus drivers and cafeteria workers keep their jobs for only two reasons: they love the students and they need the health coverage. If Gov. Deal and his cohorts get their way, we will see these employees leave their jobs in droves.
Together, we can stop Gov. Deal’s and Georgia lawmakers’ cruel plan to take money away from our local schools to provide our school bus drivers the health insurance they deserve. But we have to take action right now.
Call your legislators today and tell them to stop playing a shell game with school employees’ health coverage. Leave the bus drivers alone!