Politicians and Insurance

One of the benefits I have is working for the state is supposed to have better benefits and insurance.  When I started working for the state, I never paid for anything. 

Since Act 10 was sent through, I’ve lost pay and benefits.  Last year when my husband and I both had health issues, I ended up with a couple thousand dollars of bills to pay.  Not enough to itemize on my taxes but very much a burden on our budget.  Now this year I went to the ER for a kidney stone.  It was my first one so I had no idea what was going on. 

I got the bill.  Next time I’m staying home and not paying for all the crap.  Again, I’ve been with the state since 2006.  In that time we’ve had to make trips to the ER.  This time I got a bill over and above my co-pay.  The co-pay I believe was $75.  The bill – was nearly $900.  Then I had to do a follow up with a doctor.  That cost me more money.  The doctor wanted me to come back for a second visit.  I set it up but really after I got the bills for the ER and doctor visits, I knew I could not afford another CT scan and doctor’s visit.  I canceled both.

I pay over $200 a month for my husband and I to have insurance.  Back when we were first together, we had insurance that was 80% /20% which meant for every medical thing the insurance paid 80% and we paid 20%.  We had three little kids.  Having this insurance drove us into bankruptcy because we had so many bills between the kids, my broken leg and three surgeries, and some of Ken’s stuff.  Now I’m looking at the same situation with my supposedly better benefits. 

I’m left thinking it’s better to stay home and cope with whatever the problems are rather than going to the doctor or to ER because the cost of it will drive us quickly into a place I don’t want to go.  My choice is to have this crappy insurance which I’m paying for every month and not go for more than checkups.  There’s now co-pays on everything. Beyond the co-pays, I’m getting bills for things the insurance isn’t covering.  There’s no money in the budget for this.  I’m still paying for last years medical bills. 

It’s no wonder the state can’t fill positions.  They’ve lost the edge of having better benefits and strong unions to protect the workers.  Now the state has become a crappy employer where the benefits are sub standard and the pay is mediocre.  It has become an employer who abuses their employees by calling them names and blaming them for the fiscal problems which are caused by mismanagement at the upper levels.  It’s no wonder they can’t get guards for the prisons or keep faculty in the universities or keep clerical workers.  Businesses are offering better everything with less abuse.

The politicians better wake up.  They better start looking at the good of their employees or they won’t be able to run the state.  I’d like to see the governor go into the prisons to be an officer or walk into a classroom and teach students.  I’d like to see our legislators spend 40 hours a week doing clerical work or maintenance or janitorial.  The politicians (on all levels) are great at looking out for them but they suck at looking out for the best interests of the people – which should be their biggest concern.

It’s time to wake up and remember that this is a collaborative affair.  The politician govern at the will of the people.  If they aren’t serving the people, they need to go.  Whatever elections are out there, please go vote.  Please voice your opinion and make yourself heard. 

Hostile Work Environment

Herein lies a rant.  Don’t say you weren’t warned.

The other night on the news there were two stories which annoyed me – obviously enough I’m still thinking about them.  One story was about the juvenile prison which had five employees attacked over the weekend.  The story was all about the how they have a hard time keeping employees.  
The other story was about the DA in Dane county announcing they are no longer going to be able to prosecute all crimes due to a shortage of employees, i.e. prosecutors.
Both of these stories hit a note with me.  I’ve worked for the State of Wisconsin since 2006.  I’ve liked my jobs and the people I work with.  The different departments I’ve worked for have been interesting and like most jobs there were great things and not so great things.  Then 2010 rolled around.
In 2010, the governor basically said state employees were bankrupting the state and they were horrible people.  This started a war against state employees.  For a time insurance cost more, before it became a political move to lower the cost of our insurance.  But instead of the state covering what they used to, they changed the insurance so there are more co-pays, more deductibles, and more money out of my pockets.  
Public service employees are typically paid less but the benefits used to be some of the best.  Now the pay is mediocre and the benefits are getting too costly.  
Back to the two stories, why would someone work for an organization which vilifies its employees?  Why would you accept a job which has mediocre pay when you can make more in the private sector?  The reason the government can’t fill the positions is because the top people have made working for the state a bad deal.  There’s a disrespect for the ethics of the employees.  
If you want employees who will stick, you have to provide them with good wages and benefits, as well as a safe work environment.  If you aren’t providing these things, you aren’t going to get quality employees who are willing to stay.  To our top government officials, get your heads out of your asses, stop helping the rich and start doing what you’re supposed – representing EVERYONE in the state, not just the rich.

Politics – again

I belong to a union.  I’m required to pay union dues for my job so if I’m going to pay for the union I figure it is best to have a say in the union.  I’m reading all the news articles and listening to the blurbs that our governor elect has been spewing out. 
This man seems to consider his employees the enemy.  How are we the enemy?  Union members go to work daily and provide needed, in some cases critical services to the public.  State employees put up with a lot of criticism on all levels.  Yet without us, how would the driver’s and car licenses get out to the public?  How would criminals be guarded?  How would funds go out to the unemployed?  These are just a few of the services that are performed by the state workers. 
I read today that there are 39,000 union workers employed by the state of Wisconsin.  Can Scott Walker really afford to piss off  39,000 workers?  The unions have worked with management with the short falls in budget.  But here is the thing – the legislators got a 5% raise when we had this short fall.  What did they do about it?  Did they give it back?  This is as bad as the stimulus money being given to banks who then paid huge bonuses with it. 
If my income is X, I can’t spend more than that.  It is time that our legislators realize that.  Raising taxes should not be an option.  Wisconsin is already in the second highest level of taxes paid as a percentage of income.  (http://www.newgeography.com/content/00754-local-and-state-tax-burden-maps)  Unemployment is down slightly from a high of 9.7% to about 7% but that doesn’t mean people have gotten back on their feet yet.  (http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=usunemployment&met=unemployment_rate&idim=state:ST550000&dl=en&hl=en&q=wisconsin+unemployment+rate)  It means that some people are back to work.  The question becomes are they in a level of position that pays them enough to cover their bills or are they under employed?  Plus I just saw where the unemployment rate was back up to 8.3% (http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/newsreleases/2010/unemployment/100121_state_unemployment_rate_dec.pdf) for December.  This increase has been since the election.  I guess that says what sort of confidence businesses have in the new leadership.
Our government needs to live in the now.  Gas prices are at $3 a gallon.  There is very little affordable public transportation outside the major cities.  Prices are up, unemployment is up.  It is time for the politicians to come out of their ivory towers and see how the real people they represent live and struggle daily.
Unemployment has been further affected by Scott Walker and his tantrum over the high speed rail.  He threw such a fit that we will no longer be getting the funds for this project.  A project which would have brought in 800 million dollars into our economy is now going elsewhere.  There were contracts already awarded and ground already broken on a couple of them.  Scott Walker just pissed that away.  An international company that makes trains will be leaving as soon as their contract here is up.  This means the people who are employed by them will be joining the unemployment ranks.  The contractors who were going to hire people to build the rail, won’t be hiring them and may even suffer severe economic failure because the contracts are no more.
Scott Walker may think he knows what is best for Wisconsin but has he bothered to ask the Wisconsinites what they want?  Sadly this man is supposed to represent and lead us for the next four years and I am fearful that he will put my family and my finances at risk.  He needs to apologize to Obama and suck it up to attempt to get that money back into our state for the rail.  He needs to listen to the people who he is supposed to be representing .  He represents everyone not just the people who agree with his rhetoric.