WV Republicans Believe They Have a PEIA Fix

CHARLESTON, WV - It's only a non-binding resolution, but the House of Delegates is now on record asking the state's health insurance agency, PEIA to freeze rates for this year. The Senate may do the same.

"I am very optimistic. I mean we have always been very diligently working on fixing the PEIA issue, that have concerned some of the public employees," said State Sen. Mitch Carmichael, (R) Jackson - Senate President.

"Let's try to end this thing in the best manner possible, and get a conclusion that doesn't bring it back every year," said Del. George Ambler, (R) Greenbrier.

Rising health insurance rates are among the reasons why hundreds of teachers protested at the capitol Friday. But the Governor and Republican leaders think they have a fix. Again it starts with freezing PEIA rates; then if the proposed one percent salary increase goes through for all state workers, the average teacher pay would rise over 400-dollar next year. Already there is resistance from educators.

"I still think we need to see more pay that one-percent. We have 727 vacancies across the state of West Virginia. One percent is not going to do anything to address that problem," said Dale Lee, President, West Virginia Education Association.

Other say, it's like trying to play catch-up.

"I have a retiree who told me she could handle the benefits in 2015 - her retirement, her PEIA - but she cannot handle them now," said Del. Barbara Evans Fleischauer, (D) Monongalia.

So far, no more protests are scheduled, but that could change.

"Even if the Governor and Legislature have a deal to fix PEIA finances, the PEIA Board is under no legal obligation to follow that plan," said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.

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