Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ask Warren Hardy: What do we do without health insurance?

Just days after the legislative leaders reached an agreement not to slash public service workers' health care even further, while at the same time cutting public service workers' pay by at least 4% and removing all prospect of salary increases for the next two years, state Senator Warren Hardy -- who represents many of us in southern Nevada -- apparently says we shouldn't have health insurance at all!

(I may be misreading his proposal to end Public Employees Benefit Program for new hires in all state jobs. He may simply mean that he doesn't like us participating in a self-funded public program and wants us all to be pushed into a for-profit insurance company.)

And have no doubt that although his proposal is to end PEBP for all new hires, this would effectively end PEBP -- because without younger, healthier workers in the insurance pool, the cost of coverage for all others would skyrocket. Instead of cutting access to affordable health care in this already highly underinsured state, the pro-business position should be to expand access to PEBP rather than eliminating it.

And have no doubt that the state of Nevada, which already offers a benefit package below other public university systems, will fall farther in its competition for top national and international faculty if we cannot offer them health insurance as part of their job offer.

Its understandable that the Chamber of Commerce, which has done little to promote commerce as evident by our stagnant economy, feels that the primary obstacle to economic recovery in this state is that teachers, police and professors have affordable health coverage -- thats what the Las Vegas Chamber seems to make its priority. (Although even the Chamber agrees that our compensation is already below what is needed for the state to be competitive).

Its not at all clear why state Senator Warren Hardy is leading the charge for them. If you are reading this today, and especially if you live in Warren Hardy's district, call his office at 775-684-1462 or write him at and ask him why he's introducing such an extreme proposal at almost literally the last minute for state budget negotiations?

1 comment:

  1. william jankowiakMay 7, 2009 at 10:43 AM

    Excellent overview of the situation.