Your editorial (TH, July 18) on state employee health insurance missed important facts and included two popular, but inaccurate, myths.
You claim that it's "not the case anymore" that public employee jobs pay less. A study by the non-partisan Iowa Policy Project found that even when accounting for benefits such as health insurance, public employees in Iowa receive 6 to 8 percent less total compensation than their private sector counterparts with similar levels of education.
You inaccurately characterized state employee health insurance as a "freebie." We have accepted lower wage increases to keep our health insurance the way it is. We worked with the state to encourage many employees to switch to cheaper managed care plans that cost the state less than other plans that require a premium payment by the employee. In the Dubuque area, many state employees with family plans do pay premiums because of the lack of options under the managed care plan in the Dubuque area.
We have sacrificed many times to do our part: We agreed to a contract with no base wage increases in FY 2010, we agreed to take five mandatory unpaid days, we have contributed more toward our retirement and we suffered layoffs like everyone else.
Most importantly, the governor's actions are illegal. Iowa law does not allow a governor to create new health insurance plans or open enrollment periods without doing it through collective bargaining. The bargaining table is where this discussion should happen.