Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Are the Stars Aligning for Statewide Health Insurance? Yes, and the Governor is helping!

For many years the VEA has been working to gain a statewide health insurance option for Virginia school divisions.  A statewide plan would offer small divisions the economy of scale, reduce the volatility of rates associated with small groups and save all involved a significant amount of money.

Senator Norment and Delegate Jackson Miller have both worked to help us on this issue in past sessions.  This year Delegate Joseph Yost of Montgomery is carrying HB 1356 for us.

Today your chief lobbyist met with Delegate Yost, Delegate Chris Peace and Sarah Wilson, the Director of the Department of Human Resource Management.  Mrs. Wilson’s agency would administer the statewide plan and she has been most helpful and supportive over the years.

Delegate Peace is an experienced and respected member of the House Committee on General Laws to which the bill has been assigned.  He offered helpful tactical suggestions and his support will be most helpful.

What is also extremely helpful is that the Governor has made it clear to individuals I have talked to that this issue is important to him as has his Chief of Staff Jasen Eige.  They have been supporting this effort with budget language and arm twisting.  Should this bill pass, it is one for which school board and local government employees across Virginia could long be thankful.  If that happens, we’ll need to remember who helped.