5513884102_04070327f5We are so fortunate to have hard working Iowans working on our behalf. These are the people who teach our youth, work in prisons, work at Human Services, and snow plows our highways to name a few. Many put their lives on the line and for this I am very thankful.

Last week after a months’-long negotiation, an arbiter decided on a two-year contract for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). AFSCME is Iowa’s largest union, representing 20,000 employees under this contract. Government workers will continue to receive free healthcare while the majority of hard-working Iowans pay for their medical coverage.

The arbiter’s decision represents a $94 million cost savings to the state of Iowa, which has been working to find ways to save money and spend wisely. This significant saving is a step in the right direction from the previous contract negotiated. While this savings is important, the arbiter’s decision still allows state employees a free benefit at the expense of the Iowa taxpayer who must pay for their own healthcare coverage. While I respect the decision of the arbiter we need to have a conversation about the health benefits that is provided to state employees which would be in line with the private sector.

Iowa is one of only six states in the country where the majority of state employees pay nothing toward their health insurance. In contrast, families on the hawk-I plan designed to provide insurance for families making just above the federal poverty level, pay $40 a month for their insurance. Iowa state employees need to lead by example and pay a portion of their health care costs. It is the right thing to do when the state and country continue to debate health insurance at a time when health care costs continue to rise.

To that end, I support SF 137, a bill requiring members of the General Assembly to pay 20% of their health care premiums. I feel this is an appropriate place to start, by setting the example moving forward. My hope is the legislature will take up the measure very soon.

Photo Credit: Mike Hiatt via Flickr (CC-By-NC-SA 2.0)

Get CT In Your Inbox!

Don't miss a single update.

You May Also Like

Ernst Launches Tour, Website Focused on Bruce Braley’s Obamacare

Red Oak, IA – Starting in early January, Mother, Soldier and Proven…

Iowa House Republicans Release FY2020 Budget Targets

The Iowa House GOP budget plan for FY2020 spends $7.668 billion, accounting for 97.45% of on-going revenue, increasing the budget .63% compared to adjusted FY19 budget.

Candidate for Secretary of State Can’t Even Follow Iowa Election Law

An ethics complaint was registered against Brad Anderson, Democrat for Secretary of State candidate, citing his failure to comply with Iowa election law.

“Nothing Worse” Than Homeschoolers Weighing In on Public School Policy

State Representative Josh Byrnes (R-Osage) believes that Iowa’s homeschooling parents should remain silent about public school policy.