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Viewer Feedback: Health Insurance

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Last week's editorial suggesting state employees kick in a bit more for health insurance premiums to help offset their health costs that have risen 600 million dollars in the past five years brought an onslaught of criticism:

Here's a sampling:

"When state employee salaries equal the private sector I will be happy to pay for my insurance."

"How can you ask someone who does what teachers do and lives on an average of $40,000 a year pay more?"

"If you have to pay for your insurance with your company, maybe you should apply for a state job."

"Sure if health care costs are rising in all other professions, to be "fair" they should rise for teachers. However, if we are going to be "fair", shouldn't teacher salaries also increase in a way that reflects the salaries of all other professions requiring a college degree and highly qualified training?"

"State workers and teachers in Alabama are grossly underpaid... insurance and retirement are a small step in closing the salary gap. Workers can make so much more in other sectors that if there were not incentives to work for the state we would not have quality workers."

"Research says a large number of teachers suffer from kidney problems (from not being able to go the bathroom), arthritis (from walking and writing constantly) and problems with the throat and voicebox (from talking excessively and loudly). With all of these job-induced health issues we need (our) health plan."

"Insurance is one of the few benefits of working for the state. State employees are also tax payers and they provide a service to everyone in the state. The insurance is pretty good, but it doesn't cover occupational therapy for my two year old who was diagnosed with autism two months ago, so it could be better. Maybe if the state paid employees better, they could afford to pay more for their insurance."

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