Wednesday, March 4, 2009

PEBP health coverage: Urgent action needed to contact legislators now!!!

To all NFA members and all concerned with PEBP health coverage:

Since last fall, NFA has been at the forefront of efforts to preserve public service workers' health coverage .

This week, we enter the most important period for these efforts. In the very near future, the budget subcommittees that handle the PEBP budget will determine whether to retain the Governor's proposals and what if anything to propose instead.

It is therefore urgent and crucial that the chairs and members of these subcommittees (listed below, with contact information) hear directly via email, letter or phone from faculty members and their families about the importance of PEBP to ourselves, our families and and our institutions

Please take time to send an email, fax a letter or make a call this week on this important issue.


Senate: Steven Horsford (chair), Joyce Woodhouse, Dean Rhoads, Warren Hardy

contact info:

Assembly: Mo Denis (chair), Kathy McClain, Marcus Conklin, Pete Goicoechea, Joe Hogan, E. Koivisto

contact info:

Here are some key points to make to these legislators about the PEBP budget:

1. Last fall, the PEBP Board, at the direction of the governor, proposed to cut benefits and to raise rates, to achieve over $50 million in savings, largely by nearly tripling the deductible. Also, the Board recommended changing the eligibility for subsidies to start after 15 years of service. These changes, while onerous for public service workers, were met with the reluctanct recognition that in difficult times, we must all sacrifice.

2. However, the Governor's Executive Budget submitted in January reduced the PEBP budget by another $90 million, based on the recommendations of the SAGE Commission. These draconian proposals include a very dramatic increase in monthly premiums to active workers, on top of the increased deductibles, which would result in an estimated out of pocket increase of at least $2000 annually for individual workers and $3000 for families for active workers. And it proposed to eliminate most or all state support for health coverage of retired state workers.

3. We are urging the legislature not to accept SAGE and the Governor's enhanced cuts and to restore the $90 million to the PEBP budget. Otherwise, the Legislature will be agreeing to the draconian changes that the governor has recommended, including implementing some extremely problematic proposals that would compromise the state's competitiveness, hurt our ability to attract new faculty, and make it difficult for us to retain current faculty until retirement.

The $50 plus million already taken from the program is a very serious hit on employees and retirees. We sincerely hope that the Legislature does not plan to implement the other plan changes and benefit cuts recommended by the SAGE Commission and the governor.

4. Additional information is available on; please feel free to use any and all of that in your communications.

Please contact these key legislators today. Identify yourself as a faculty member, a constituent (if you live in one of their districts) and an NFA member. Be factual, reasonable and brief but be clear -- that the Governor's proposed cuts to health coverage would have an irreversible, detrimental effect on us and on the state's competitiveness in the academic job market.

Please also circulate this message to your colleagues and to all concerned with the issue.

In solidarity,
Gregory Brown
Interim President, UNLV-NFA

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