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School Employees Facing Steep Increases in Health Insurance Costs, Further Eroding Pay

| April 7, 2011

© Joel Pett/Kaiser Health News

Flagler County’s largest employer—with 1,337 employees—is sticking with United Health Care as its insurance provider for next year. The Flagler County School Board Tuesday evening unanimously approved the plan.

Despite increasing the district’s share of the cost by $300,000–a 5 percent increase over last year–most employees will see steep increases in premium costs, depending on their deductible and plan choice. Employees in two popular health plans will see premium increases ranging between 10 percent and 36 percent. Monthly premium increases in those two plans (United Health Care’s “Choice” and “Choice Plus”) are rising by $20 a month and $49 a month for single employees, respectively, and by $82 a month and $135 a month for family coverage. (See the chart below for a comparison of this year’s plans with next year’s plans.)

The overwhelming number of participants in the health plan—1,075 out of the 1,337 who seek coverage, or 80 percent—cover themselves only. Premiums rise in smaller proportions for employees seeking couple and family coverage, but in actual dollars, family and couples coverage will increase more dramatically for most.

The premium increases, a reflection of still-rising health care costs across the country, equate to a pay cut for most employees who stick with the same coverage they have this year. It would be the first of at least one more expected significant pay cut by next year, as the Legislature edges closer to enacting a law that would require all public employees, including public school employees, to contribute 3 percent of their pay to the Florida Retirement System. The retirement system is one of the most solvent in the nation, but the state is facing a budget deficit of close to $4 billion.

The Flagler school board’s contribution for all health plans—whether for individuals, couples or families—is rising from $385 a month to $405 a month (not dental or vision, where the board contribution remains flat). Beyond those costs, premiums are the responsibility of employees.

The decrease in premiums will affect those in just one of the health savings account plans being offered, which are cheaper up-front, but costlier when the individual falls ill. Those plans favor younger, healthier people. The current premium for an individual in a health savings account plan is $484 a month. That’ll fall to $440. Subtracting the district’s contribution, that works out to a monthly premium of $36 next year, compared to $98 a month this year.

It’s double those amounts for an employee and spouse, and currently $1,248 for family coverage, falling to $1,135 a month next year, or $731 a month when the district’s contribution is included. But those plans, which have a $1,250 deductible (and $2,500 for families), also require the patient to pay 20 percent in co-insurance for most services, including emergency room visits and doctor office visits. Most employees do not sign up for Health Savings Account-type plans because of the risks of being faced with insurmountable health bills.

As required by the new health-care reform law, lifetime maximum benefits have been lifted on all plans. They had been capped at $5 million.

United Health Care’s “choice plus” plan has lower in-network deductibles, but higher premiums. The deductible is currently $500 for an individual, $1,000 for a family (and double that for out-of-network services). The employee’s share of premiums this year is $134 a month, after the district’s contribution. That’s going up 37 percent to $184 a month next year. For those who seek family coverage, premiums will rise from $978 a month to $1,113 a month. (Few people are generally aware that school employees pay premiums that steep, in spite of district contributions.) Under that plan, patients have some co-pays of $20 to $150 on some services, ER co-pay is $150).

A less expensive “choice” plan is also available to employees, but with higher deductibles of $1,500 for individuals or $3,000 for families. Under that plan, premiums would rise from the current, single monthly premium rate of $89 to a monthly premium of $109, a 23 percent increase. Family plans’ premiums would rise from $838 to $920 a month, a 10 percent increase. Again, that’s after taking the district’s contribution into account.

Tuesday’s board vote was the culmination of a nearly three-month-long process that entailed long employee committee debates over what plan to adopt. United Health Care was in contention with Florida Health Care, which had been the district’s insurer until last year. Rising costs compelled the switch. Florida Health Care is a subsidiary of Blue Cross-Blue Shield, which some employees favored because it would have given them more flexibility. On the other hand, United Health Care’s costs were less steep.

Flagler County School Board Employees' Health Insurance Plans Compared:
2011 and 2012

Type of PlanBeneficiariesMonthly Premium Cost to Employee This Year (2010-11)Monthly Premium Cost to Employee Next Year (2011-2012)$Monthly increase/decrease (% Difference)
Employee only$88.81$108.88+$20.07 (+22.6%)
Employee & spouse$624.53$689.05+$64.52 (+10.33%)
Employee & child(ren)$572.38$632.57+$39.81 (+10.5%)
Family plan$837.88$920.10+$82.22 (+9.8%)
Choice Plus
Employee only$134.34$183.73+$49.39 (+36.8%)
Employee & spouse$740.46$848.49+$108.43 (+14.6%)
Employee & child(ren)$682.33$783.78+$101.45 (+14.9%)
Family plan$978.30$1,113.22+$134.92 (+13.8%)
Health Savings Account, higher deductible
Employee only$0$0No change
Employee & spouse$312.93$411.85+$98.92 (+31.6%)
Employee & child(ren)$312.93$369.67+$56.74 (+18.1%)
Family plan$466.91$584.30+$117.39 (+25.1%)
Health Savings Account, lower deductible
Employee only$98.44$35.74-$62.7 (-63.7%)
Employee & spouse$645.05$533.27-$111.78 (-17.3%)
Employee & child(ren)$591.85$484.85-$107 (-18.1%)
Family plan$862.74$731.41-$131.33 (-15.22%)
Employee onlyn.a.$0n.a.
Employee & spousen.a.$376.65n.a.
Employee & child(ren)n.a.$336.31n.a.
Family plann.a.$541.70n.a.
Vision Plan
Employee only$0$0none
Employee & spouse$4.98$4.98none
Employee & child(ren)$6.56$6.56none
Family plan$10.76$10.76none
Dental Plan, PPO
Employee only$10.85$10.85none
Employee and 1 dependent$33.11$33.11none
Family plan$58.61$58.61none
Dental Plan, Co-pay
Employee only$0$0none
Employee and 1 dependent$14.90$14.90none
Family plan$31.27$31.27none
The school district contributed a flat $385.29 per month on all health plans in 2010-11, regardless of number of dependents. That amount is increasing to $404.55 in 2011-12. The amounts in the table are the employees' share after the district's contribution has been deducted.

33 Responses for “School Employees Facing Steep Increases in Health Insurance Costs, Further Eroding Pay”

  1. lawabidingcitizen says:

    Boo Hoo.

  2. William says:

    I find the cartoon to be representative of the typical TeaBircher mindset.

    If one can apply the standard that a society is judged by its treatment of the least able among it, then it can be said that we are failing this test miserably.

    And I can’t help but wonder if lawabidingcitizen is the guy on the street corner.

  3. Dorothea says:

    I am confused about the school board’s health savings plan. My experience with health savings plans is that it is not a premium, but a plan to put money aside for future health expenses and that it is independent of health insurance. The employee is issued a debit card and simply debits from his/her medical savings account, paying the co-pay or other medical expense not covered by insurance. If the school board’s health savings plan calls for the employee to make a choice between health insurance and health savings, maybe the school board should opt for a different health savings plan and stop paying into the savings plan on behalf of the employee. The money saved could then be applied towards the employee’s health insurance premium..

  4. Rebecca Fiedler OShane says:

    it happens every year to everyone…sucks when you are a nurse and you can barely afford health care for your family. For all my benefits I pay almost 700 bucks a month!That is after their “contribution” of pay for it. And the benefits suck to top it off!!!

  5. Lin says:

    You have got to be kidding me, Flaglerlive. $4 billion deficit in the state looms and premiums going up $20-49/single employee is such a big deal. I think you should check out what single insurance seekers pay for insurance these days — those not benefitting from being part of a group. Self employed people and people who do not receive benefits from employers pay very high rates. My insurance costs $1026/month — deductible is $2500 and I am not sick. DH had to give up his when insurance went beyond $500/mo with 5,000 deductible, no office visits & no prescriptions. Just trying to inform you what the rest of us go through trying to pay our own way in the real world. Cartoon is ridiculous — if you are one of the unemployed or underemployed and are having trouble paying your own bills (like the State of Florida is), how can you pay the increased health costs for everyone. I get a birthday present every year from my insurance company — a raise in rates. High unemployment, retirement savings eroding, house values eroding, gas & food prices increasing, deficits out of sight.

    I wish insurance costs weren’t going up for teachers and everyone else, but they are. It is not, I’m having a hard time, you “should too” like in your cartoon — it is I’m having a hard time now, so I cannot pay more to you too.. It’s like public employees aren’t living in the same world with the rest of us.

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      By all means Lin: if the likes of you and me are hurting for affordable insurance (I’m in your boat, by the way), let’s make sure that others have it as hard as possible, instead of making it easier on them for a change. I don’t think that way. As for Florida’s deficit: it’s there by choice, as a result of a decade of stupefyingly stupid tax-cutting at the expense of a future we’re now living in. We wouldn’t have this deficit if Florida did what civilized societies do when they face this sort balance sheet: they raise taxes. They don’t screw as many people as they can, since that’s as short-sighted an economic policy as you can draw up, if long-term prosperity is the intention. The cheapest, quickest way to undermine your society is to shortchange its foundations, teachers and school employees most notably. But Florida has a long and inglorious history of treating teachers like nannies on the illegal-immigrant payment plan. The Scott administration is merely making it patriotic to insult and demean teachers and other public employees, and scoring points doing so, since even smart people like you don’t think twice about bashing employee benefits because they’re more generous than yours. Meanwhile the pimps graspers in DC are proposing to end Medicare and cut the rich’s tax rate to 25 percent while wrapping themselves in the flag.

  6. palmcoaster says:

    United Health Care increased 5% or 300,000 its premium and the school board just approved it?
    Did they shop arround that plan to other health insurance providers? We all do that with our insurance premiums… There is also Florida Health Care and many others around here. I am very curious about this….to say the least. I hope to receive an answer from someone in the school board and thank you in advance. I remember years ago being in a condominium association Board a new member I thought our building/liability etc. insurance increases, were too high and had our policy shopped around and guest what …? I saved 18,000 in a 60,000 premium and with better and wider coverage than we had before! Uncondictional love does not work in business

  7. PC MAN says:

    I hoping for a government shutdown so douche bags like lawabidingcitizen might have to go without their government teats of SS and Medicare payments.



  9. Kevin says:

    I have to agree with Pierre in the blatent fact that our school teachers do deserve, because of the importance and effort that goes into being a teacher, more for compensation and certainly deserve a better health care planb than the crap they have. They are almost the lowest on the totem pole when it comes to the pension plan benefits as well. Some fat-ass fire chief can walk away after a few decades of spagetti munching with the boys at the firehouse for 4 days a week making over 100k a year, then retire with that level of pay for him and his wife as long as she lives. Its sickening the disparity between the teacher’s compensation plans and other public employees who aren’t worth a shit.

    The teachers need union reps like me… so tell them I am available!!!!

  10. Lin says:

    It is the motives that you attribute to me and people like me who don’t want to or more likely CAN’T pay more benefits for public employees that is the lie in the cartoons. the “because they’re more generous than yours” crap as reason I am speaking out. Raise taxes is no solution. Too many people are suffering and cannot afford the raise in taxes. As you know, our schools are funded by State & Local gov’ts so we are talking about mostly property taxes since we don’t have a State income tax . I think the Federal tax system needs a complete overhaul too — but I think the Fed gov’t is too big, too stupid, & inefficient and corrupt but we are talking about teachers here. I read what the teachers salaries are and their benefits and working conditions — I agree some of the challenges are immense — but citizens like me can say their compensation is fair without demeaning or insulting anyone. Your cartoon takes it one step too far.

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      Insurance premiums rising are no different than tax increases, and in fact worse than tax increases: they’re regressive, affecting most those who can least afford them. Give me higher progressive taxes any day instead, especially if the result is a less dog-eat-dog world.

  11. Bob Z. says:

    Teachers are overpaid? I doubt most people even know what teachers make, and what they have to do to earn their salaries.

    A small increase in health care coverage by itself is not the problem, but when you factor in pension contributions, no raises, etc. it is a problem.

    I also have to add that some teachers do not even take the health care coverage, and they are not given the County’s contribution that others get who take health coverage…there is something wrong with that.

  12. palmcoaster says:

    Lin how come I read you bashing teachers skills, motivation, performance, salaries and pensions and I do not see you bashing the millionaires salaries of the Wall Street crooks? All you guys here bashing teachers and our education system should be bashing the GOP for the 180 billions given to AIG in tax payers funds in 2008 first in the bail out for the intentional greedy blunders they made.
    See next ; “AIG’s top earner, CEO Bob Benmosche, will make $10.5 million, according to Treasury’s letter to the insurer. Geoghegan said that an AIG employee’s cash salary should not exceed $500,000 other than in “exceptional cases for good cause.”
    AIG have not refunded yet the 180 billions of yours and my taxes.
    After you read this link and enlighten yourself in the reality of what these conservatives root for ….then maybe you will stop spitting against the wind, unless your are part of the top one percent.
    I am a middle class hard working American and owner of a small business and for sure I do not want the pseudo tax cuts offered by the GOP and demanded by tea baggers because will cost more jobs, more financial crisis to our country and yet more misery. I am not driven by greed but by the sad reality we all live today. Lets redirect the bashing to the perpetrators instead of the innocent. Lets take the Wisconsin example on yesterday’s elections. We need to stop these fascist messing up the middle class and the workers.

  13. Jenn Kuiper says:

    Lin and Flagler Beach Tax Paying Resident, actually the Occupational Employment Statistics data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that “government sector jobs have higher wages in occupations that only require a low level of education, but workers in jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher earn more in the private sector than in government. For example, state workers with a master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree with more than five years experience make $13,500 less than similarly educated workers in the private sector. For jobs requiring a doctoral or professional degree, the private sector pays over $50,400 per year more than state government.” Oh, and in case you weren’t aware, government employees do pay taxes too. Just fyi.

  14. says:

    this is one backward state.

  15. Jack Jeffe says:

    It is too bad that our Federal Government can give millions and billions in foreigh aid to countries all around the world that don’t even like us and then end up with a shortage of money which filters down to the states and local government budgets. We can spend large sums of money on wars like Iraq and then not be able to support our schools and other social programs which have always been important to most people..

  16. J.J. Graham says:

    It’s really about time some of the voters in this state turned down their DoWop and payed a little more attention to this day and age in which we live. Turn off the James Dobson, quit getting outFOXed by these right-wing fear mongers. All this fear about socialism from the Republican party is a joke. By the time they get through lining their pockets, while cutting away at the working class, socialism will be our only option. Everyone in this country should have affordable healthcare, whether they work in the public or the private sector, should not be an issue. If anything we should unite to make it happen. It’s the humane thing to do.

  17. DLF says:

    I guess I don’t understand the thinking; that the government or someone else should pay for my health insurance. I pay $460 a month, I don’t like it but I do it. I do it by cutting back on other items that I were rather have but cannot afford. All I hear is increase tax,, so now I pay more tax that the government can waste on a bridge to no where. I can spend the increase in tax money more efficient then the government can. Lets increase the tax on big companies like Kraft Foods, Tyson Foods,Or Exon gas so they can pass that tax on to me and I have less money to pay for my health care. The article points out many times the increase in health care cost, that is a fact, nothing I can do about it. The day before Obama took office gas was an average of $1.83, what is the average now $3.55. I don’t hear the school teachers crying about that. I for one grow tired of hearing about the poor teachers, like the rest of us do not have the same problems, grow up and make do and be thankful for what you have, not what you do not have.

  18. DLF says:

    After thinking about Pierre remark about increasing tax,I would agree. I would agree to pay more property tax, a state tax ( which I have stated in past comments) if I saw some give by the other side. I could agree to tax increases if the money was not poured down a union hole year after year. I would agree to a higher school levy if we were not paying school board member over $30,000 a year. I would agree to more tax money for schools if we saw the results we are not seeing now,.Programs like no child left behind was a failure at the cost to the tax payer of millions of dollars with no improvement except to teachers and local crooks . Increased tax rates are only as good as the people who control them, based on past performance; we we all agree that has not been good. How many tax increases have we seen over the last 20 years ;and nothing has improved except lining the pockets of certain groups. Pierre and some others complain about Florida being a cesspool, backwards, and the hate center of the world, this in some cases may be true, but we all have picked Florida as our home. Why, in many cases it is cheap place to live and we all still have the freedom to relocate if we so desire.

  19. Liz McLaughlin says:

    Wow – I don’t know where to begin! First, l want to thank Palm Coaster – you said everything I was thinking but I couldn’t put so clearly. Truly, what is going on with the corporate top money makers makes me physically sick. We bailed them. We are paying for it now. And they continue to get huge writeoffs and insane tax loopholes where they not only pay little or NO TAXES (as in GE) but they get these windfall bonuses! The tea baggers and extreme conservatives say helping the rich stay rich brings jobs. Really??? So how come these same CEO’s who received such outrageous bonuses CUT JOBS IN THEIR COMPANIES??!!!! Where are the jobs if this works so well? We need to change the tax structure so this can NEVER happen again?!

    Jenn, you also expressed a truth that ignorant or just plain people without common sense don’t get. I have 3 children (who, by the way, got a very good education in Flagler County Public Schools) and one of them has wanted to be a teacher since middle school. She loves little kids and loves school. She got her BA in education and is now working on her MA. She is now having second thoughts on her choice of career. Who in their right mind would want to go into a career that is the scapegoat of the govn’t and ignorant fools as mentioned above? Why should she spend many thousands of dollars and work so hard to earn a top degree to not only be paid less than someone with the same credentials in the private sector but also to have such vitriol slung at her chosed profession? She has considererd the possibility of teaching in a foreign country (as many current young education students are doing) because they are RESPECTED there. A teacher in most other countries is on a par with doctors. Afterall, teachers have a large part in shaping the future of the country; they help make productive citizens! I just don’t get this teacher bashing craze – again, it makes me sick.

    And lastly, I want to say to Lin and her ilk: Taxes! WHAT TAXES! Are you kidding me??!!! Move further up north or out west and then you can complain about taxes. The only taxes you should complain about are the taxes that corporate America DID NOT PAY.

  20. Liz McLaughlin says:

    Oh, and DLF, most of us probably moved here for the weather ;)

  21. Lin says:

    palmcoaster, if you truly read & digested my posts, you would see that I am bashing noone except maybe the federal government. The bashing comes from your posts. My belief is that teachers need to be compensated based on merit and what the community can afford — and I feel they are fairly compensated and the small raise in benefit cost is much smaller than what we are all facing.

    jenn, the reason people in the private sector with similar education to teachers earn more is because in the private sector their earnings are not restricted to a pay scale negotiated by union & government (this negotiation brings to mind so many possible abuses re union contributions to particular parties) — possibilities are unlimited because pay is based on productivity. A superior school teacher is paid the same as a tenured non-superior school teacher. There is no financial incentive for a teacher to excel. I certainly know teachers pay taxes and they elect school board members, too. But the community is getting squeezed economically already — raising taxes to pay benefits that are out of whack with the real world isn’t going to help a financial recovery. I don’t any lessons on who is paying taxes.

    PCMAN, sorry to disappoint you but under the present plan of shutdown, Social Security payments (which the recipients have paid for) will still be made. Did you know that the military will not be paid under the present plan but Legislators and WH will be paid if President Obama has his way?

  22. DLF says:

    Liz: the teabaggers you and Palmcoast want to blame for everything have only been around for a couple of years and are a by product of bad government. GE pays no tax because the government you and palmcoaster support allow them not to pay tax. The government you want to support cannot even bury the correct person in the correct grave in Arlington Cemetery. The big government you want to support is the same gang of crooks who paid millions of dollars in tax refund to people in prisons. The same big government you support is the same gang of crooks who have Social Security. Medicare and many-other social programs screwed up. Blame the people you liberals have elected for the mess we have they have been around a lot longer then the teabaggers.. Oh, by the way if you moved here for the weather you have nothing to bitch about, you got good weather with no state tax, thanks to Scott .

  23. Dorothea says:

    Lin, what news reports are you reading or listening to? The budget bill passed by the House Republicans, instigated and held hostage by the Republican teabaggers, contained 67 riders that were not about the budget. These riders were all about social policies that have nothing to do with the budget and who gets paid when. If you don’t want clean air, pure water, and health services for women, then these riders are for you. They are not for me and the majority of Americans. If these riders manage to get through the Senate, President Obama has promised to veto the budget bill. I’m sure that the least of the priorities of the Senate Democrats and the President is whether they get paid.

    As for your statement that unions and government created payscales, that is true, but not for the reasons that you stated. Government payscales were instituted to protect government employees from promotions, unequal pay, and hirings based on political affiliation and payback, rather than merit. A good example of that is right here in Flagler County. Constitutional offices are not part of the civil service systen. Often, when a new constitutional officer is elected, out go the old employees and in come the politically connected new ones.

  24. Lin says:

    Liz, again I must say, you didn’t read my posts — I was talking about local taxes and that citizens are subject to the same financial pressures as the teachers. Their benefits are costing more and more just like the benefits are going up for us in the private sector.

    What makes you think I don’t feel the same way as you do about the Federal tax system? I’d like to know how GE got away with all that too. Teachers are paid by LOCAL TAXES, MAINLY PROPERTY TAXES. What makes you think I was in favor of the bailout? You are stereotyping me and lumping me with anyone who dares say to hold the line against tax increases for people who can least afford it. How many times do I have to say I feel teachers’ compensation is fair? I questioned the $20-49 increase & said it was no big deal. I spoke from my heart my feelings about the federal government. You didn’t listen. The bashing is coming from you “and your ilk”.

    By the way, if someone has an opinion about a specific issue like paying the increases for public employee benefits, that doesn’t make them an extreme conservative, tea party member (which I am not — & I won’t use the insult word you did) , etc. Sometimes, they CANNOT pay more. And if your daughter feels another career is more lucrative, she should go for it — it’s a free country. Teachers are people, not saints.

  25. DLF says:

    I keep reading where certain employees are required to pah 3% of their income to their retirement and that is considered a pay cut. First there are 47 states who already have this requirement. second why is it a pay cut; will they not get that money back when they retire? I guess the tax payer is required to pay their retirement in addition to there health care. Now, I know why we are in the mess we are in. How many of the people writing comments who have worked and are now working get their retirement paid and their health care paid, my bet is not many. Of course with the current jobless, rate, higher gas prices, lower home prices, another senseless war, hope and change is not working out to good. We have had 10 years of a Bush like president, shame on us.Oh, I forgot Obama- Bush is working on closing the prison in Cuba and hold trial for terrorist in New York, busy schedule At least he cancelled his trip to India so he can help shut downt the Federal government. We get a deal there we say millions on his trip and they shut down the joke of a government and save trillions, what a deal..

  26. Dorothea says:

    Dlf, it doesn’t cost millions to travel to Indiana, which is where the President was going when he cancelled his trip.

  27. DLF says:

    Dorothera: I’am sorry it was not millions just two million according to the New York Times. When you figure the higher cost of fuel, all of his friends, family and staying in the best places, just a little over $2 million. It costs a lot to fly Air Force 1, $48,000 per hour is a figure I read.

  28. Lin says:

    Dorothea, in answer to your question, I read as much news as I can get my hands on including Flaglerlive. But I read & listen to it all and make up my own mind. Where do you get yours? The same claim that you make about the attachments to the bill by repubs has been made about the dems. Who to believe? Or shall we go the way of Nancy Pelosi — pass it 1st, then you’ll see what’s in it? Come on, now.

    How high does the deficit need to get b4 all the representatives, Obama, both parties in congress, etc. take responsibility for the crap that is going on. Stop the giant spending. I am an equal opportunity critic. You and the others who call us names are stuck on dems vs repub’s — there is enough blame to go around. I have no talking points — you are putting me in the wrong box.

    I do not agree with some of the social goals of repub’s but none of this is the point I was trying to make. Dems owned congress and the presidency for 2 years and got NOTHING accomplished. They were too concerned with upcoming elections last November 2010 instead of doing the right thing by the taxpayer. There is too much colusion between the unions and the politicians and too much deal making. I’m not naive to think there are no quid pro quos. THIS WAS ALL ABOUT $20-49 not being a big deal to expect teachers to pay, remember?

    That’s all folks.

  29. Dorothea says:

    DLF, I checked the New York Times and there was no figure even approaching $2 million dollars for the President’s 1-2 hour trip to Indiana. In fact, there wasn’t even a story that I could find. Please provide the link. As for his friends and family traveling to Indiana, where did you find that? Maybe, the press corp and secret service would be aboard. So let’s say it takes 4 hours round trip to fly to Indiana, that would be about $200,000. We are still 1.8 million dollars away from 2 million. The press corp costs are covered by the employers and the secret service cost is classified. So, are you making this up out of thin air?

  30. Dorothea says:

    Lin, my information on the riders to the budget bill comes directly from CSpan coverage. I watched or listened to most of the debate. It was clear that the Republicans were on a mission to drag their extreme right wing social agenda into the budget bill. As for any inaction in 2010 on the budget, it was filibustered in the Senate by the Republicans and the Democrats did not have the 60 votes needed to override the filibuster. Also, the President got a comprehensive Healthcare Bill passed after 50 years more of less of attempting to do so. I consider that a major accomplishment. I do agree with you that both parties did not want to take political risks just prior to the election. As for collusion between the unions and the polilticians, it doen’t hold a candle to the collusion between big corporations and politicians.

    True, we are discussing teacher benefits, but I don’t believe in letting the misinformation, lies and distortions that I find here go unanswered.

  31. Liz McLaughlin says:

    Thank you Dorethea. You saved me much time finding the sources needed to rebut. I read several newspapers, skip around ALL the news tv stations and read a couple of online news sources such as Flaglerlive. But I’m sorry I base my thoughts on what I remember I read or heard and don’t have time to go back and pinpoint each case. That being said, I thought I shoud point out that I am a very disillusioned and embarrassed REGISTERED REPUBLICAN. However, I do not vote by party but by issues. I have no patience for people who vote only because that is how their party wants them to vote. I vote my conscience. Needless to say, I did NOT vote for Scott. He is a crook of the highest order. I don’t have the time or the inclination to get into a debate about our national affairs. My response was about the current attack on teachers and making them the public scapegoat. That is what this post thread is about.
    On this subject I want to reply to Lin and DLF: I did not mean to imply that my daughter was interested in a career that was “lucrative”. Anyone who intentionally goes into the teaching field in this country knows it is not about the money. I was speaking about the comparision that was made to the private sector in someones post. More specifically, I was replying to the lack of RESPECT that teachers get – that is why my daughter is having second thoughts. She loves working with children and thinking she may be able to impact them in some way. Not only that, but her goal is to work in low-income areas with disadvantaged children. That is how she made her decision to major in education – she had a volunteer job in her freshman year of college where she went to the “bad” side of town and worked with children who needed extra help. She wants to work where she is valued and respected and can make a difference. The current assault on all things education will surely scare away the next generation of teachers.

    This thread was initially about health benefits to teachers in Palm Coast. Let’s compare. Here’s what I know for a fact: my family is in the lower middle class in the “private” sector. My husband is in sales. Our health insurance is through his employer. It is also through United Healthcare. We are very fortunate. It is an excellent plan. We pay $234 a month out of his paycheck for this insurance. We have a $25 co-pay for any doctor visit. Everything else is paid for 100% – all lab work, all testing, radiology, mri’s, etc. Any hospitaliztion. I just completed a round of check-ups – well visit, blood work, colonoscopy, Mammography, gyno and paid only $25 per office visit. This kind of plan would easily cost $1200 a month if we had to pay it ourselves (which we actually did several years ago when we had Florida Healthcare and were self-employed). We also have a vision and dental plan that we pay an additonal $109 for. There are five of us in the family and we all wear glasses or contacts and get bi-annual checkups at the dentist.
    In comparision, a good friend of ours is a teacher here in Flagler Cty – also with a family of four. He pays
    $812 a month for a family plan. He has a $2500 deductable before any paid benefits kick in. He has NO dental plan and NO vision plan (all members of his family also wear glasses). hmmmmm, so much for the great benefits offered to teachers vs the private sector.
    I will admit that my husband does not have a retirement plan paid for through his work. It is a self contribution to a 401K. I do concede that the teachers and/or public servants should also have to contribute to their own retirement fund. A free pension is a thing of the past. But this should also go for ALL government employees, including hour federal

    And by the way, DLF, I didn’t realize that I should thank Gov Scott for the weather in Florida as well as no Florida income tax. Did you really mean to imply that? ROFLOL!

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