Come on. We can afford insurance for bus drivers, cafeteria workers

87005-1It may not seem like a big issue, but it is for those involved. And even for those not directly involved, it ought to raise questions about public priorities and basic values.

In an effort to save money and cut spending, Gov. Nathan Deal has proposed to end health-insurance coverage for 11,500 school bus drivers and cafeteria workers around the state. He offers a reasonable rationale, pointing out that bus drivers and cafeteria workers are only part-time employees, and most other part-time state employees are not eligible for coverage. It is, he says, a matter of fairness and of treating people equally.

To my knowledge, though, other part-time state employees aren’t demanding that bus drivers and cafeteria workers be stripped of their coverage. I’ve heard no such outcry; I’ve seen nobody picketing the governor’s office demanding such a change. “Fairness” is not the reason for Deal’s decision. Fairness is the excuse. The $103 million in annual cost is the reason.

And as Jim Salzer of the AJC points out today, school employees aren’t the only part-time state employees who get health insurance. State legislators also get that benefit for themselves and their families, yet there is no talk of “fairness” demanding that legislators be stripped of that benefit, that we have to treat people “equally”.

Why?

Well, the implication is that some people — the more important people — are deserving of health insurance, while those less important are not. Legislators are professionals who go to work in a suit and tie or other business attire. Bus drivers and cafeteria workers do not. As Orwell would put it, some are more equal than others.

In more practical terms, I have no doubt whatsoever that hiring and retaining good bus drivers, for example, would become significantly more difficult without the promise of health-care coverage. That’s why many people find it attractive in the first place.

Think about the job: A bus driver is often the first interaction of the day between a family and a local school district, and they’re the last interaction as well. It’s not a stress-free assignment, as your own childhood memories will probably confirm. The driver works a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the afternoon, plus occasional field trips and other outings, but the commitment at both ends of the day makes it impossible to hold a full-time job that might offer insurance.

For a lot of people, both in rural parts of the state and here in metro Atlanta, a bus-driving job or cafeteria job offers a way to cobble together a living. You might make $20,000 to $30,000 a year, but health insurance is the glue that makes it possible.

(Disclosure: My father drove a school bus for years in north Georgia, although as a retired service member, he did not need to do so for the health insurance. For him, it was a secondary source of income, and he just liked the kids. But the military example is also useful here. As with bus driving, the job doesn’t pay all that great, but the retirement and health insurance that comes with it make it more attractive).

Can we afford to keep offering that benefit? Of course we can, we’ve done so for decades, back when we thought such things important.  It’s just a question of whether it’s still important to us. It’s a question of where we draw the line between ruthless efficiency and treating people with respect.

We live in a time and place in which it’s OK to spend hundreds of millions of public dollars building sports stadiums and pedestrian bridges for billionaire owners and millionaire players, plus tens of millions more to subsidize private school for the more affluent. Meanwhile, health insurance for bus drivers and cafeteria workers is considered an extravagance. If you’re fine with that, OK.

I’m not.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

901 comments
PREACHER30673
PREACHER30673

"Thanks for reaching out on this complicated and difficult issue. While the House Appropriation Committee is working on solutions, the main problem is that these workers are not employees of the State of Georgia. If local school districts wish to continue to offer participation for their part-time employees, the local school districts will have to pay the FULL employee portion of the premiums. It is really that simple. This class of participants cost other state taxpayers approximately 135 million dollars last year for their claims experience. Again, the state of Georgia is not the employer for these individuals and I agree that employers (the local school district) should provide group coverage for these important employees. So, to be clear, these employees are NOT state employees at all." Regina M. Quick Georgia House of Representatives Coverdell Legislative Office Building, Room 509C 706.207.3520706.207.3520



this is what I was told from here...and later she stated it mid not matter how many hours they workded 

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@LeninTime

To the extent that the U.S. is supporting one side or the other in Ukraine (and it's pretty piss poor support) it's the side of democracy and freedom over Russian totalitarianism.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@LilBarryBailout @LeninTime

Well then, that means you're in agreement with HeadleyLamar and many of the other liberals here, including the blog host.

Let it be noted.

But you are sadly mistaken, as usual. 

The Kiev regime is a fascist-led regime that has no popular base and with US support is trying to crush the will of the people in the east by employing death squads hastily organized by a handful of oligarchs and shelling of civilians areas of cities, which is a war crime.

In other words, I'm not surprising someone such as yourself would support such a fascistic entity.

LeninTime
LeninTime

Francois Hollande says if talks with Russia over the Ukraine crisis fail, the result could be the risk of "total war".

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Mind you, it took the LBB/BBB brain trust about twenty four hours to finally get around to "But but Jay's boss!"...

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Radical Christian clerics and their right wing mouthpieces are so easily trolled, it's kinda like shooting fish in a barrel. Still, gotta say I'm really loving this.

Obama is not a Christian?

"The President's comments this morning at the prayer breakfast are the most offensive I've ever heard a president make in my lifetime," said Jim Gilmore, former Republican governor of Virginia. "Barack Obama is not, in any meaningful way, a Christian," wrote Erick Erickson at RedState.com. "Christ himself is truth. When we possess Christ, we possess truth. The President is a moral relativist."


More like this, Mr. President!

LeninTime
LeninTime

@Visual_Cortex

Christ himself is truth. When we possess Christ, we possess truth. The President is a moral relativist

***
Wow.

Penses
Penses

@Visual_Cortex 


I would say that anyone who advocates for gay marriage rights cannot, by definition, be a "Christian". If you think otherwise, it is because you either are not familiar with the scriptures upon which Christianity is based or you somehow (by excision, rationalization and the like) imagine you can make them mean whatever you want them to mean.


I would also say that anyone who continually and willfully "sins" in some fashion cannot, by definition, be a "Christian". I don't know all that Obama is guilty of, but it seems pretty obvious he is an unrepentant liar.  

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@Visual_Cortex

Obozo said his faith is "muslim".

I'm all the time accidentally saying I'm a Buddhist or Hindu, it's just so hard to remember...

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@Penses @Visual_Cortex

Same goes for abortion.  Those who think it's OK to shred an unborn child or pierce its skull and suck out its brains juuuuuuuust might not be a Christian.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

When you got nothin', start attacking your blog host's boss.

So predictable.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@LilBarryBailout

Hey, btw, speaking of Ronald Reagan, how's the wisdom of that decision to arm the Mujahidin in Afghanistan, a decision that planted the seeds for the later emergence of Al Qaeda, and now ISIS, looking about now?  


You would have preferred your beloved USSR just take Afghanistan, no doubt.

Reagan got some cave dwellers to defeat them.

Pretty embarrassing for ya.

***
That's what I thought. No answer. 

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@LeninTime @LilBarryBailout

how's the wisdom of that USSR decision to invade Afghanistan, which led Reagan to arm the Mujahidin, which planted the seeds for the later emergence of Al Qaeda, and now ISIS, looking about now?

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Is Jay OK with the wealthy and powerful at Cox Media getting health insurance, while their delivery drivers do not?

It sure looks like some are more equal than others, doesn't it?

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Cox Media has revenues of $16 billion annually.

Come on.  You can afford insurance for delivery drivers.

blah blah blah
blah blah blah

@LilBarryBailout Jay is happy where he is at.  Just look at the diversity of the AJC blog site, mostly white men.  Makes a person wonder if pay-equality is an issue at AJC too???  You know what happens when a bunch of old white men are in charge for year after year... Don't rock the boat...

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Do part-timers at the AJC get health benefits?  The folks who drive around every morning delivering the paper--are they getting health insurance?

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

The research I've done--reading reviews of the AJC on job sites--reveals that THEIR drivers do not get health insurance.

It seems some at the AJC are more equal than others.

Jay, are you OK with that?

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@InTheMiddle2 @LilBarryBailout In April 2007 I signed a contract to work x days at x pay.  I was legally bound by this contract.  However, in September I was told I would work 10 days less for less pay, and i HAD NO LEGAL RECOURSE.  Georgia, as a right to work state, can do that.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@InTheMiddle2 @LilBarryBailout

Unless the employment agreement states that the terms can never change, you don't have a leg to stand on.

And if that's the argument you or the libtards want to make, then you must also oppose businesses being required by the government to add new benefits, such as Obozocare, because that was not agreed to when employees were hired.

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@LilBarryBailout  Your missing the point. To me it is pretty straight forward. When you apply for and accept a job it is in exchange for a specific compensation package. Sometimes that package includes health insurance. At the time of acceptance that was the offer. Now, because it is too expensive, the state wants to rescind their offer and remove part of the overall compensation for the position, that is dishonest and wrong. It is just as wrong as forcing employers to pay more after the applicant has accepted the position. It is called integrity.

LeninTime
LeninTime

Even the radical, euro-socialist, anti-american Bammie H. O'Bozo wishes he could be as great as RR. Ha! No one can. Especially a doofus like him.

***
Lol. This rube actually thinks Obama is opposed to Reagan or somehow on the left. 

Hil-ar-ious.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@LeninTime

Mentioning scumbag Obozo in the same sentence as Our President Reagan makes Real Americans sick.

Ghost Buster
Ghost Buster

You're the scumbag in this equation,

LilBoogs.

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

RR, man of greatness, brought the Evil Empire to its knees with nary a shot fired. USSR scum couldn't begin to challenge his greatness. It wept at its inadequacy, a failure of philosophy, culture, and intellect.

All hail!

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

Even the radical, euro-socialist, anti-american Bammie H. O'Bozo wishes he could be as great as RR. Ha! No one can. Especially a doofus like him.

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

Public works project we can all rally around: Chisel Teddy into RR on Rushmore!

Who's with me?