Under the Dome

No agreement on health plan -- yet

Senate and House lawmakers have been unable to agree on a compromise health plan for state employees, teachers and retirees. Sen. Tom Apodaca, a Henderson County Republican, said he is hopeful that something can be worked out next week.

There wasn’t enough time to reach a compromise and send it to the governor before a 3 p.m. today deadline, he said. Most members of the General Assembly are heading out of town for the Easter weekend this afternoon. The deadline related to the beginning of the open enrollment period for the health plan.

“I will say I’m disappointed we didn’t come to an agreement,” Apodaca said after today’s Senate session ended without considering the issue.

Apodaca said the Senate caucus wasn’t comfortable with the compromise that had been worked out by House Speaker Thom Tillis, a Mecklenburg Republican, that would allow those signing up for the lowest tier of coverage not to have to pay premiums.

On Wednesday, House members rushed the compromise through in hopes getting it to the governor by the end of this week, so that the workers would know what kind of benefits the different health plans would include. Apodaca said it’s possible there will have to be a second enrollment period, and there would be some additional cost involved in that.

Last week, Gov. Bev Perdue vetoed a bill that would have required workers signing up for that coverage plan to pay premiums for the first time.

The state plan covers 663,000 members, including 160,000 who are retired. General Assembly Republicans wanted active workers to pick up the premium for one of the plans as a means of closing a $515 million shortfall.

UPDATE: For a while this afternoon it looked like the House might have put in motion a deal in time for the 3 p.m. deadline, but it didn't happen. GOP and Democratic lawmakers recessed and retreated to their separate caucuses about 2 p.m. Tillis told reporters there was a possibility that Perdue might release House Democrats to override her veto. That would meet the deadline, and then House and Senate conference committee members would have to return next week to work out their disagreement on the no-premium issue. But when the House went back into session just before 3 p.m., Tillis announced there would not be an agreement today. "High drama," he called it.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.


This Republican lead legisture can call it whatever they want to it is still a tax on the working people of this state . i thought that they were against the raising of taxes. oh that is right they are just against raising taxes on the richest among us an to the he** with every body else that is what the republican party has always stood for an that being for the prosperity of the riichest an the special instrest an the coporate instrest an that  is all that they are concerned about fo rthey care not about the working people of this state they make me want to throw my hannd in the air an zeig heil not any difference if you ask me this state is becoming a dicatorship rather than a demoracy an all lead to the extreme ideas by the repbulican party thank you

Cars View All
Find a Car
Jobs View All
Find a Job
Homes View All
Find a Home

Want to post a comment?

In order to join the conversation, you must be a member of Click here to register or to log in.