About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, October 02, 2014

NorCo Council May Condemn Brown's Healthcare Program Tonight

This longtime County worker visits the food bank to feed her children
Walking into the courthouse today, I was stopped by a Northampton County employee who is upset about the healthcare program changes that Executive John Brown is imposing on most workers soon. He's by no means the excitable kind, but these changes are going to hurt him. Worse, they are going to hurt his special needs son.

"I don't know what I'm going to do," he told me, fighting back the tears.

Without going into detail, this child has been fighting his entire life against a serious disease he'll always have. He requires regular nursing care and intense medical treatment, though he still manages somehow to get As and Bs.

All that will stop when Brown's "still robust" healthcare program goes into effect.

I didn't know what to say.

Making my way a little farther down the hall, I was stopped by another County employee who is practically apoplectic over the cuts.

"I handle three million dollars a week, and am going backwards," she told me.

I didn't know what to say.

"Could [the healthcare plan change] adversely affect some of these families?" he asked on a Wednesday's right-wing radio show. "Yes, it absolutely could."

The operative word her is "will", not "could". These healthcare plan changes will adversely impact a middle school student who, through no fault of his own, is in near constant need of medical care. He could tell Glenn Geissinger and radio host Bobby Gunther Walsh, "Welcome to the real world!"

Geissinger, a lay clergyman who at one time was leading Council in prayer and once told us all to bow our heads, apparently doesn't give a shit.

In fact, Geissinger was actually rallying the tea party crowd yesterday, sounding the clarion call of cuckoo radio to attract people to come in and blast the County worker, creating division and hard feelings unnecessarily
.
Though Northampton County Council is powerless to stop Brown from decreasing or even eliminating healthcare coverage, something Brown discussed two weeks ago, it does have the power to tell him they don't like what's going on. Such a resolution is on this evening's agenda.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

The majority if council agrees with Brown. The time to have payed attention was on election day., Too late now. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Its not only NORCO that is dealing with the health care cost matter but all government sectors. The plans are overly generous and too costly. The taxpayer is tired of paying for these over the top plans when they are stuck with high deductible high copay plans. NORCO workers, at best, should hope to see Health Savings Account plans with very high deductibles. At least the worker can keep the account if he or she would move on.Government workers need to become better consumers of health care.

Anonymous said...

the woman in the picture doesn't look like she is wasting away

Anonymous said...

Glad to see all the tea baggers up early spewing their venomous propaganda and insults!

You will see tonight that the entire workforce is unified and will continue to fight this. They will ask council to reject the budget and send Brown back to fix this problem.

This absolutely will adversely affect the livelihood of workers and their families.

I checked the market place last night and as a family of 4 making what I do at the county my children are eligible for MA/Chip. A plan for me would be in the range or a few dozen more dollars a month than what I pay now for my "robust" package. If the plan changes go through it may be more beneficial to go through the market for myself and have my children under MA.

Do the Teabaggers have the foresight that if workers were to do this then the taxpayers would eventually pay more tax anyway with more citizens of the county under MA? Ask the County Health Choices! Do some research Glenn before you start shooting off on a radio program with your Geroge W Bush fuzzy math and Koch brothers propaganda!

I'm also going to tell you that the taxpayer will pay more tax somewhere for this and eventually lose quality services their family and friends receive in NorCo. There will be a mass exodus of quality employees in December as well as another waive of younger workers that will leave for other gainful employment if this nonsense continues.

Brown really has the audacity to tell the general public he has met with employees and knows what they want and need?!? Laughable as I can tell you have never met the man yet and even at events he has never came up to the working staff to introduce himself. At first he got a pass because he was new, after 9 months on the job it is clear it is simply his holier that you are personality.

Real shame as an employee, taxpayer, and constituent to be treated like this. Don't worry people are aware and those people will vote him and anyone else out who casts a yes vote to this plan and budget.

See you later tonight

Anonymous said...

Brown should end the halthcare package and make everyone experience real world Obamacare

Anonymous said...

"All that will stop when Brown's "still robust" healthcare program goes into effect."


will it?

is Brown changing coverage, or just the employee contribution? cause if it's the latter, then this isn't a problem, no?

Anonymous said...

7:31 AM is right on. Let these people go out and see what health care costs really are. The smart ones will come to the conclusion that it might not be so bad to have to pay a little more (share the cost) for a Cadillac plan vs. buying a plan from Obama's "Affordable Care" site. I pay over $1,100/month for myself and my wife (excluding dental coverage). These people have absolutely nothing to complain about!

Anonymous said...

BOTTOM LINE....if everyone has to pay why should'nt these people, the fat chick in the pic never missed a meal. she can save some money by cutting back on meals...these over payed politicians can cut back also...enough bulshit.....



191

Anonymous said...

Here's hoping the majority stands strong and tables the resolution. Council is not powerless here. They could vote to raise taxes and fund the current benefit level as part of next year's budget. Let the budget process take its course and see if the Democrats want to pay for the current plan with tax increase. The employees with bitch and moan. That is their right, but they won't quit because their benefits will still be far better than the private sector.

Anonymous said...

County employees do pay into their healthcare, they are not complaining about paying in to their own healthcare. They are concerned that when they have to pay an additional 10% co-insurance on top of their co-pay, and deductable. It amoutns to nearly $20,000 a year

The Central Scrutinizer said...

I pay over $1,100/month for myself and my wife (excluding dental coverage). These people have absolutely nothing to complain about!

Everyone else should suffer because you have a shitty job and health care plan?

I do not work for Norco but you guys have to stop this envy thing. It's really unbecoming. These people put up with a lot of bullshit, a lot have hard jobs and do things you would never dream of doing. They take care of the outcasts, the criminals, the abused - yet all you do is shit on them over and over again. Give it a rest.

The Central Scrutinizer said...

but they won't quit because their benefits will still be far better than the private sector.

Is this a problem with government or the private sector? You willingly accept getting shit upon by your private sector overlords and then cry when there are people who do not?

Go make a widget and bow to your master.

Anonymous said...

Elections have consequences

---Barry O

Anonymous said...

"I handle three million dollars a week, and am going backwards."

Welcome to the new new, honey. The rest of us have been dealing with this since 2008. And, yes, it sucks.

Anonymous said...

"Go make a widget and bow to your master."

Widget makers are the masters of government employees. Widget makers are your boss. You're about to learn this. Get on your knees and start begging, ungrateful asshole.

Anonymous said...

Widget makers are the masters of government employees. Widget makers are your boss. You're about to learn this. Get on your knees and start begging, ungrateful asshole.

I understand this point of view makes you feel empowered. That is good. You need to smack around people like you get smacked around by your widget overlord in their quest to make even more widgets at a higher margin by cutting your benefits and compensation. All the while, you accept it, willingly, like a good underling. Now run along, Gomer.

Anonymous said...

The Central Scrutinizer said:
"These people put up with a lot of bullshit, a lot have hard jobs and do things you would never dream of doing."

These people do not have a ball and chain around their necks --- Let them go out and get another job if they don't like what they are doing. Perhaps Obama can send us some illegal immigrants who would be glad to take some of these "hard jobs".

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
BOTTOM LINE....if everyone has to pay why should'nt these people, the fat chick in the pic never missed a meal. she can save some money by cutting back on meals...these over payed politicians can cut back also...enough bulshit.....
191
7:46 AM"

LOL!!!! Thank you so true. Also, the woman who said she had to be drugged to go to work last time not only needs to be fired but also needs to get some help. I wouldn't want her handling anything important at the county. She needs help and healing so she feels better with herself. May God bless.

Anonymous said...

county employees don't begin to earn what the private sector does ,this is an unnecessary move by brown. it's wrong to treat any employee in any workplace this way earn less and pay more ,county employees do pay for their healthcare for some reason brown has it in for the employees no one can understand this the hostility toward someone that works at the county is outrageous ,to all of you who feel that way come work here we don't knock you don't knock us ...

Anonymous said...

for all any of you know she may not be heavy because she eats to much ...your all a bunch of hypocrites and haters!

Bernie O'Hare said...

", the fat chick in the pic never missed a meal. she can save some"

As opposed to an anonymous coward like you, who attacks this poor woman. You should be ashamed of yourself. You are no better than that Tricia Mezzacappa.

Anonymous said...

All you private sector ass licking, antiunion cowards who gladly gave up your pay and benefits while stabbing each other in the back can go fuck your selves

Anonymous said...

"You will see tonight that the entire workforce is unified and will continue to fight this. They will ask council to reject the budget and send Brown back to fix this problem."
The bottom line is we are all in this terrible mess together and none of us asked for it. My family is without health insurance after it was cancelled because it did not meet Obamacare standards and we can't afford the new policy which tripled in cost. Is that a good thing, I think not. This has happened to many people. I ask why county employees and their families are better and more highly regarded than the families who have one spouse unemployed and the other (me) working two part-time jobs; one is 30 hours/ week and not eligible for benefits and the other is 20 hours/week. Just trying to keep a roof over my family's head and put a little food on the table. What more are you people asking me to do? I can't trim anymore nor can I afford to pay more in taxes. I am taxed enough already. Aren't you all?

Bernie O'Hare said...

9:46, Though most people in the private sector have some serious misconceptions, very few of them would post the disgusting personal attacks i have seen here. And they are cowards about it, who do not sign their name. I doubt any of them will make those kinds of remarks to Council bc they would have to ID themselves.

Bernie O'Hare said...

9:50, A couple of points.


1) Most people in the private sector are there for the money. Most people in the public sector are there for the benefits. Brown is proposing to remove the good benefits while continuing to pay shit.

2) If government wants to encourage the private sector to pay you better, it sets a terrible example when it starts nickel-and-diming its own workforce. Boroughs hire part-time cops so they don't have to pay benefits at all. And now, what little good exists for low paid county workers is being taken away. This only sets an example for private bosses to screw you even more. The government has an obligation to treat its employees well.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"for all any of you know she may not be heavy because she eats to much ...your all a bunch of hypocrites and haters!"

Actually, this is the kind of slur that diminishes the insulting party. First, that woman is Reubenesque, not heavy. Second, when income is limited, people are forced to buy low-quality food that adds calories. It's much cheaper to buy McDonald's than go to Wegman's for apples and other fresh fruit.

Anonymous said...

I stand corrected Bernie~

Bernie O'Hare said...

Well, good for you,. Didn't expect that.

Anonymous said...

These people do not have a ball and chain around their necks --- Let them go out and get another job if they don't like what they are doing. Perhaps Obama can send us some illegal immigrants who would be glad to take some of these "hard jobs".

You are obviously a simpleton.

Anonymous said...

My family is without health insurance after it was cancelled because it did not meet Obamacare standards and we can't afford the new policy which tripled in cost.

BULLSHIT

Anonymous said...

I am a Lehigh County employee. About twelve years ago Dr. McHugh who was then the president of council charred a meeting in which the "tax payers" were encouraged to come and vent about taxes. The meeting quickly degenerated into personal attacks against all county employees. Robert's Rules were set aside to encourage the speakers to spew their hatred of county employees.

At the time there were massive lay offs at Lucent (Or what ever it was called at the time). Speakers demanded salary cuts and elimination of most benefits for county employees. I understand the frustration of these people. However their former starting salaries and benefits exceeded those of long time county employees. I knew this because prior to the layoffs Lucent was recruiting workers. I had looked into their requirements as my children were of or soon would be college age.

Gessinger is doing now what McHugh did back then, appealing to mob rule for perceived political gain. McHugh left the board a short time later. One of the reasons given was that county employees had turned against him.

We live in a society where we are easily manipulated. Rather than trying to improve their own positions people want to see their neighbors loose what ever they have.

I would sign this, but I am still an active employee, and under the Pa. Hatch Act.

Anonymous said...

Commenter 10:23am Are you calling me a liar? The policy I had for many years, paid out of my own pocket being self-employed, was cancelled July 1. The new policy they offered us was three times what I was paying. This is not BS. We are paying cash for doctor visits. Don't call me a liar when you know nothing about me or my family.

Anonymous said...

Trades unions are one of the lynchpins of capitalism and democracy. Public sector unions are dangerous and detrimental. FDR warned that public sector unions should not be permitted to collectively bargain with those whom they get to elect. This is not an anti-union issue. It's an anti-public sector union issue. All public sector employees should be put into ACA. They fought hard for its passage and, according to them, it provides improved coverage at significantly lower costs. President Obama said it'll save your average family $2,500. That's a huge savings and will easily offset other cutbacks and Sal Panto's tax increase. How could any public sector employee have a problem with this? Better coverage at lower cost is a no-brainer, according to AFSCME-sponsored ads in 2009. There IS middle ground. It's ACA.

Anonymous said...

11:36 are you aware that FDR also wanted to have national health insurance as part of Social Security? You obviously admire FDR what say you on ACA for every one?

Anonymous said...

FDR made his statements regarding public unions in the 1930s.

When I went to work for a Lehigh County in the 1970s my office was under it's first or second union contract. Employees who had been there longer told stories about county and political leaders coming to the office in prior years and demanding that the employees turn over part of their salary to the party. Since the employees had civil service protection and a union contract they refused these demands.

A few years later the head of the Democratic Party, Glen Moyer was quoted in the Morning Call bemoaning that there was civil service protection and union membership. He noted that these two things took public employment out of the hands of the party bosses.

Try to imagine what government would be like if party bosses and elected officials could order employees to take action against citizens who the politicians did not like.

In many jobs in government today their are educational requirements that meet or exceed those required those in private industry. This is appropriate given the issues that public employees need to deal with. If you want cheap government then through out all the requirements and safe guards, but don't complain about the consequences.

Anonymous said...

The cost of health care is exorbitant. Let's put the focus where it belongs--on the health care system. Employers all over the place are trying to manage costs and, unfortunately, health care is huge. Whether in public or private sector non-profit, that cost can be 2/3 of annual operating expenses. It's really hard to find room in a budget without looking at health care costs. Besides, we--all of us--are generally NOT good health care consumers. We do not look at bills, do not question invoices, and are responsible for some of our own health conditions due to lifestyle choices. I'm not commenting on whether Brown is right or wrong on this, but let's acknowledge that this issue is a really tough one to tackle, regardless which political side of the fence you are one. And, I do not think it's fair to call out individual situations as the examples as to why a particular health plan should or should not change. I bet if you look at the usage details of the current plan, the people mentioned in the article do not represent the majority of the plan users.

Anonymous said...

Wow, insult some poor woman about her appearance and sign off with a "God Bless"! I just love these hypocritical God fearing freaks who impose their values on others. By your standards when you get to your "Judgement Day" dress light because you are headed south if you catch my drift. Asshole!

Bernie O'Hare said...

12:59, You may call it unfair to point to these very real examples. As I wander the halls, there have been more of these, like a woman who just discovered she has breast cancer and doesn't know how she's going to pay for her treatment with 10% co-insurance. We are all mortal. Eventually, it will be 100% of us. So I think it is entirely fair and appropriate to point to these examples. What I consider unfair are Brown's health plan changes.

Anonymous said...

Everybody's health care plans have been torn apart. County employees have been insulated for a couple of years. There doesn't seem to be a high rate of turnover and desks are occupied. The wealth gap has widened greatly in the past few years. Most people are tightening belts and lowering expectations. Bush left a mess and Obama cleaned it up with gasoline and matches. Both parties suck and country they left us is a mess. Private sector promotes higher wages? They've been stagnant. Public sector promotes benefits? They've become breathtakingly expensive and unaffordable. Nobody is getting what they want anymore. Kids waiting overnight for the latest iPhone are in for a very rude awakening.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Public sector unions are dangerous and detrimental."

Until recently, I thought that way myself. I figued that there is no need for public sector unions bc you should not need to be protected from a government boss, who must provide you with due process. Plus, we can all remember the SEIU asshole who complained about boy scouts cleaning up litter in the parks.

But my thinking has changed. It started when I saw a Bethlehem Police Officer get railroaded out of a job bc he has a drinking problem, probably aggravated by some stress from the job. Fortunately, his union went to bat for him, while all the City Council members let him hang out to dry.

I saw nonunion workers shown the door when they woulod have prevailed had they belonged to a union.

Then I saw what is going on in small police departmenents, where officers who put their lives on the line are purposely kept part-time and are let go if they even hint about a union. I have seen full-time Nazareth police officers harrassed and bullied, even though they are good officers, pretty much bvecause they belong to the FOP. I hve many of these stories to share and am only getting started.

FDR today would call the public sector union, with all its flaws, a necessity.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"County employees have been insulated for a couple of years. There doesn't seem to be a high rate of turnover and desks are occupied. The wealth gap has widened greatly in the past few years."

As someone in the courthouse every day, I have to question you. The Civil Division and tax claim offices look like ghost towns. There are vacancies everywhere. I am sure you mean well, but what you are saying is simply inaccurate.

Anonymous said...

Those jobs are clearly ones that Americans won't do. They should be given to some recent immigrants who are looking for a better life. Suffer unto me the poor and tired yearning to be free. Sal Panto will get them drivers licenses, too.

Anonymous said...

Of course health care costs and premiums never increased before the ACA(sarcasm)??? I guess the double digit increase in health care related expenses in the 1990's-2000's were just a bad dream.

Have you folks lived under a rock? At least Obama did SOMETHING. The many plans people had bought had huge deductibles and lifetime limits that were silly. They loved them until they had a major illness and realized how little they were covered.

This health care discussion has become insane. It is time for single payer health insurance. Then the health insurance companies that sponsor sports teams and sports stadiums, lunches, concerts, etc., etc. Can go the way of the buggy whip makers.

Time to enter the 21st century. the system sucked and needed to be fixed. Everyone talked a great game and never moved off their asses. The President did and in fifty years he will be honored for it. That is after the current angry fox watching teabaggers are all gone.

Yes, it's all about what I think... said...

If you really want to effect cost savings, why not make employee coverage free (non-contributory) for full time employees, and if they have dependents, have the employee pay all or a large part of the excess “premium” above and beyond the cost for single coverage? Most of our unions would have no choice if we made this plan change to the non-union plan.

While this might be painful for some, it also sends a clear signal to many prospective employees that you cannot come and work in any job at the County and get full coverage for your sick dependents for (nearly) free. This is known as adverse selection against our plan. This is why we instituted the spousal benefit clause a while back, in an attempt to shift the primary costs out of our plan, if there was another plan available to a working spouse.

The dependents could always be enrolled in the ACA aka Obamacare as an alternative, if they did not work, or were not eligible for coverage at their job, if working and eligible. This would be an exercise in cost shifting right back to the Feds.

Anonymous said...

Commenter 10:23am Are you calling me a liar? The policy I had for many years, paid out of my own pocket being self-employed, was cancelled July 1. The new policy they offered us was three times what I was paying. This is not BS. We are paying cash for doctor visits. Don't call me a liar when you know nothing about me or my family.

Yes, I am calling you a liar.

Your plan was sub-standard and if the new plan costs "3 times as much" it was REALLY fucking substandard. I don't want to have to pay for your family through my rates because you had a "plan" not worthy of wiping an ass.

Anonymous said...

Trades unions are one of the lynchpins of capitalism and democracy. Public sector unions are dangerous and detrimental. FDR warned that public sector unions should not be permitted to collectively bargain with those whom they get to elect. This is not an anti-union issue. It's an anti-public sector union issue. All public sector employees should be put into ACA. They fought hard for its passage and, according to them, it provides improved coverage at significantly lower costs. President Obama said it'll save your average family $2,500. That's a huge savings and will easily offset other cutbacks and Sal Panto's tax increase. How could any public sector employee have a problem with this? Better coverage at lower cost is a no-brainer, according to AFSCME-sponsored ads in 2009. There IS middle ground. It's ACA.

The ACA was put into place for people without access to healthcare plans. County works HAVE access to a healthcare plan as part of a compensation package agreed upon the employment offer.

Anonymous said...

11:08 - Absurd. The ACA calls for mandatory coverage of dependents until age 26 for a REASON. To guard against ridiculous ideas like the one you just came up with.

Anonymous said...

First of all,( ANONYMOUS WHO WAS SO RUDE ABOUT THE WOMAN IN THE PICTURE), I am sure you are not going through something like this! And once again, the WONDERFUL REPUBLICIANS of Northampton wanted Brown for this position, because they heard "more money " for them and NO tax hike. He will take it out of the employee's pay, because if they quite "who cares!", I can run this county ALL by myself. Also, I CAN HIRE A FRIEND WITH NO COLLEGE EDUCATION, SHE CAN BE HIS RIGHT HAND WOMAN, GET PD $80,0000 a yr.