CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) Task Force’s Public Outreach Subcommittee approved a report Tuesday that members agree best summarizes the results gathered from the statewide hearings held earlier this year.
After an hour, the subcommittee agreed on a report that combines comments from the hearings with results from surveys sent out to those who attended, showing that the state’s PEIA recipients want affordable insurance, as well as a dedicated revenue source to make that happen.
“Specific comments related to cost structure include premiums should not be based on income, premiums should be the same amount for all insured,” said West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee.
“And even on down, eliminate co-pays for all claim participants, eliminate deductibles for claim participants, remove all PEIA premiums, co-pays and deductibles for all members,” Lee said. “You’re listing that like that was the overwhelming response of the people who were at the meeting, but that’s not what I heard. There were some comments to that, but by listing it in the report like that, to me, it’s saying that’s what the majority of people are saying and that’s not what the majority of people are saying.”
To avoid that confusion, the subcommittee members agreed to cut out bulleted lists from the report.
“I think it should be summarized to say, ‘Here’s some things’ or ‘It was noted’ or ‘We are noting that there were people who said’ whatever but in just a narrative, and if there’s specific comments in the appendix then we can do that there, but I think this should be eliminated right here,” said Christine Campbell, president of the American Federation of Teachers West Virginia.
The original draft of the report had the same issues in terms of outlining the public’s thoughts on revenue sources.
“Some individuals suggested cutting government spending and wasted taxpayer money to pay for PEIA. Again, that was a very small percentage of what people out there are saying,” Lee said. “An overwhelming number of people said we have to have dedicated spending, and we make no mention of that here. We have a dedicated source of revenue, such as severance tax on gas, cannabis, et cetera, et cetera.”
The report will now advance to the other two subcommittees before going before the full PEIA Task Force for approval. The Cost & Revenue Subcommittee meets Aug. 23.