Braxton Citizens' News, Opinion

The legislature is winding down…

We are in the final week of the 2023 legislative session. This is typically the time the gremlins come out.

A couple of big items apparently have been dealt with. The DHHR debacle has seen action. It appears that the massive, ineffective, conglomerate will now be three agencies. Only time will tell if this change fixes the problems or just creates three messes to replace the one.

The other item that saw action this past week is PEIA. I have watched that issue even though I am not personally affected by it. In preparing this week’s paper it was interesting to see that Brent and Lori have somewhat different opinions of the actions the legislature has taken. I like the different opinions as I think they spur thought and discussion.

I find myself agreeing with both of them on certain aspects of their perspective. Brent hit the nail on the head when he said past legislative action is nothing more than kicking the can down the road. Unfortunately, in nearly fifty years that I have watched our lawmakers from this seat, Band-Aids for serious problems happens way too often.

I also agree with Lori in her opinion that PEIA is a bargain even with the proposed increases. No one likes to pay more and I don’t blame those directly effected for complaining. However, they should consider themselves lucky that they are not in the private market. PEIA is a bargain. I also don’t oppose the 80/20 pay scheme. This too is commonplace with most insurance plans. I have long thought that one of the problems with PEIA is that the covered employee had no incentive not to abuse the system. If a spouse is covered by a private employer, with an 80/20 plan, it only makes since they piggyback the PEIA system. That has to put a substantial burden on the system. I don’t know all the details these changes will create for PEIA but I certainly think it is a step in the right direction. It appears that problems still loom for the company and the legislature will have to deal with them. It is regrettable that state employees will have to pay more for their insurance. It is also regrettable that taxpayers have to bail out that system on a regular basis. I think PEIA needs to be more of a stand-a-lone service and if taxpayers are going to help pay for it… it should not be a blank check. Now we will have to wait and see what is next for public employees’ insurance. Keep your fingers crossed that these two issues reap positive results as we wait cautiously for the end of the session and hope the gremlins are kept at bay.