Education, Features, Labor News Briefs, Law and Politics, Municipal Government, National

W. Va. Senate President Battles Teachers’ Unions on Health Care

July 30, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

CHARLESTON, W. Va.—Discussions July 18 on how to fund the state’s health-insurance program for its workers were overshadowed by Senate President Mitch Carmichael’s Twitter denunciations of teachers’ unions for supporting universal health care. After the American Federation of Teachers passed a resolution to endorse only candidates who support “universal health care, whether single-payer health care or Medicare for All,” Carmichael took to the Internet July 17 to challenge West Virginia Democrats to “reject the union’s Obama-styled socialist agenda” and “higher taxes to fund it all.” “Expecting candidates to support workers’ issues isn’t radical; it’s imperative for raising the bar in West Virginia elections,” AFT-West Virginia President Christine Campbell responded. The deal which got teachers a 5% raise after their strike last winter left health insurance up in the air, with Gov. Jim Justice naming a task force to recommend a long-term solution to funding the state Public Employees Insurance Agency. At the July 18 task force hearing, West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee said it was unrealistic to expect free health care, but “we need to figure out how to contain the cost rather than shift it to the employees.” Read more

July 30, 2018

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