A few weeks ago, we told you about Doug Stern, who was traveling around the state lying to the media about what he pays for health insurance.
Stern said that as a Cincinnati firefighter, he also pays 20 percent toward his health-care premiums. A 2011 survey by the State Employment Relations Board showed that, on average, public employees are paying between 9.5 and 11 percent of their health-care premiums.
The problem for the media is that they printed what he said and reported it as fact. When the Columbus Dispatch found out, they printed a correction.
Cincinnati firefighters pay 5 percent of their health-insurance premiums. Because of incorrect information provided to The Dispatch, a story on Page B1 of Wednesday’s Metro & State section included a different percentage.
That should’ve been the end of the story. Unfortunately, it isn’t. Democrats and activists for We Are Ohio will say ANYTHING to get you to vote against the needed reforms in Issue 2.
Just this morning, David Pepper, who ran for State Auditor in 2010 and lost to Dave Yost, pushed the same 20% lie out to his Twitter followers.
Look, our friend Sandy Theis also tweeted it out. Remember Sandy? She accidentally tweeted out TRUE information that bolstered the case for Issue 2. Oopsie! She tried to delete it, but we caught her.
Back to the Cincy firefighter contract. We have obtained the medical plan portion of the actual contract. Want to take a guess at what it says?
The member’s premium share shall be 5% of premium costs capped at $35 per month for a single plan and $75 per month for a family plan.
And Pepper wanted to be State Auditor. These people are shameless, and will tell you ANYTHING to protect their union cash flow. Even if their lies have already been debunked.
Don’t believe their dishonest propaganda. Vote YES on Issue 2.
SB5 says “cost paid for health care benefits.” Cincinnati’s cost is the premium! Pepper knows this but is trying to save face. He is absolutely shameless.
UPDATE: Pepper responded to me with a newspaper article and claims that SB5 has a different standard for state versus local employees.
The article is from the Dayton Daily News and highlights confusion that some SB5 opponents, like Pepper, are trying to sow about the law. They claim that it says “premium” in one section and “costs” in another. This is what David Pepper is basing his claim upon.
Here is what the article says about the language in the bill:
The section regarding health care for state workers says they must pay at least 15 percent of their “premiums.”
Another section regarding local workers says no public employer shall agree to union contracts that require the employer to pay more than 85 percent of the “cost” paid for health care benefits.
And here are the relevant parts of the law itself:
124.82(H) A state employee who receives insurance under this section shall pay at least fifteen per cent of the cost of the premium assessed for any insurance policy issued pursuant to this section that covers health, medical, hospital, or surgical benefits.
4117.08e, “No public employer shall agree to a provision that requires the public employer to pay more than eighty-five per cent of the cost paid for health care benefits.”
The problem for Pepper, is that the article he himself provided proves him wrong. Yes, the language used is different in the “state” versus “local” section. But they mean the same thing.
The local employee section clearly is referring to the costs paid by the employer for health benefits. You can’t read it any other way. Whatever the cost is to provide health care coverage to the employee, the employee must pay 15%.
So why doesn’t it say premiums? Because when you get to the local level, there are all different types of coverage. Different localities use different plans. Some might opt for a flexible savings account type of benefit, in which case the term “premium” wouldn’t apply. In order to cover all localities, the broader term “cost paid for health benefits” was used.
In the Cincinnati example, the city pays 95% of that cost, leaving the employees to pay only 5%. Whether you call it a “premium” or not, the firefighters are only paying 5% of what it costs to provide their insurance, or 5% of their premiums.
Pepper and others are deliberately trying to confuse people on this. They are lying about the language to push the lie.