Speech! Speech!

Today, I spoke at a rally on the Georgia state capitol's steps to advocate for affordable healthcare options for state employees. I was one of several speakers who were there on behalf of TRAGIC (Teachers Rally to Advocate for Georgia Insurance Choices).

You see, our Governor and the board at our Department of Community Health decided to offer only ONE healthcare plan to all state employees and state retirees - and an AWFUL plan at that.  The consequences my family has suffered as a result of this are illustrated in my speech, and I want to share that with you.

Thank you for reading!


Hello, fellow state employees.

My name is Jamie, and I’ve worked for the state of Georgia as a teacher for over 10 years.

Today, you are hearing from those who are struggling to manage their health care as a direct consequence of the actions of the board at the Department of Community Health – a board appointed by Gov. Deal. 

The consequences I have suffered as a result of having my healthcare choices made for me have extended to my children.  Their doctor – our pediatrician for over seven years – has been taken from them.  Their doctor – who was there when my oldest was born.  Their doctor – who helped to heal every fever, sickness, and broken bone.  Their doctor – with whom I had forged a trust – the trust of my children’s lives – will not take a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan. As the billing attendant at the office said,Blue Cross Blue Shield plans only benefit the provider and not the doctor of the member.” And so, we have been stripped of what I have always believed to be an essential human right – the right to form and keep a relationship with a physician so as to ensure continuity of care. 

And why?!  Why were we all given this plan with an obviously limited physician network? I’ll tell you why. It was so the state could save a few bucks and balance the state budget on our backs – during this ELECTION year.

I know I am not alone in this.  In January, many of you also suffered this travesty.  And the hits just keep on coming, don’t they?  We have been threatened with high deductibles and financial ruin. We have been made to jump through hoops such as tracking our footsteps or our feelings online – OR we have been made to endure intrusive “coaching” calls.  And why?  All to earn a few measly HRA dollars that will barely cover two doctor’s visits!

Oh, yes, the Governor has worked with the board at the Department of Community Health to bring back our co-pays.  But what exactly does that mean?  How will that affect our HRA dollars or our deductibles? What exactly does it mean that this change will be retroactive to January first?  You see, no one really knows yet.  And this brings me to one of the most frustrating consequences of having been shoved into this healthcare plan – we’re left more questions than answers.  Here we are – February 18th – and I still am not sure how to prepare my family financially for health care costs in 2014!  You call the department of state health and ask a few questions – but they have no answers.  You call Blue Cross Blue Shield, and depending on who you talk to, you can get a different answer to the same question every hour on the hour. 

You go to their website, watch an informational video designed to educate us about our new healthcare plan, and via a fictional character named “Larry”, we learn our Health Reimbursement Account (or HRA) dollars used for prescriptions will go toward our deductible – which is WRONG.  This is just one example of misinformation from Blue Cross Blue Shield.   My – OUR – stress levels have gone through the roof wondering if we will survive the State Health Benefit Plan of 2014.

And folks – That! Is! WRONG!

It’s wrong that this past month I had to take my youngest daughter to two different physicians – doctors unfamiliar with her history – to finally get the medicine she needed to heal from her latest illness when I KNOW if I had taken her to her regular doctor, she would have gotten exactly what she needed on the first visit.

It’s wrong that our families are suffering because of the poor decisions of Governor Deal and HIS leadership at the Department of Community Health. We are suffering from their poor healthcare choices. Suffering from financial hardship. Suffering from the fear of the unknown that occurs every time we walk into a doctor’s office these days. 

This is TRAGIC!

State employees – and those that love their state employees – Please, speak up!  Let Governor Deal know that we will not be silenced!  We will not go away until we have the quality, affordable health care choices we deserve!

Together, we can effect change! 

For more information about this cause, please go to the TRAGIC (Teachers Rally to Advocate for Georgia Insurance Choices) website.

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