Sonny Did …. What? You’re Kidding.

With the stroke of his veto pen, on May 5, Governor Perdue vetoed a bill that would have provided continuing health insurance coverage to dependants of state employees who were killed in the scope of their employment.  So, in essence, what this veto does is tell the family of a state highway trooper who was killed in the line of duty, sorry, you’ll just have to lose your health coverage. 

What is Perdue’s reasoning?  In his explanation he dryly says “these non-employee recipients will subject the taxpayers of this state to the liability for the employers’ contribution without the reciprocal benefit of the services of that employee.” 

Now that is compassion. 

By the way, this bill passed the House by a 124-3 vote and the Senate by a 51-0 vote. 

Now we finally know what “Sonny did” and it ain’t anything good.

40 comments

  1. jsm says:

    How many private companies provide continuing health insurance to dependents of people who die on the job?

  2. Bull Moose says:

    I think it was wrong of him to veto this bill. It was a bipartisan bill and deserved to be law. People who put themselves in harms way for the benefit of the greater state deserve to know that their families are going to be okay.

  3. JaseLP says:

    That’s why they should buy life insurance.
    I think it’s horrible that people die in the line of duty, but the taxpayers shouldn’t foot the bill.

  4. bowersville says:

    JaseLP,
    That’s a great idea! Let’s make sure the widows and dependant children of our military, CIA, FBI, Border Patrol, FDNY, NYPD & others don’t make the taxpayers foot the bill! Maybe they can have “HOPE” under “Peach” children or WIC in Georgia, or buy life insurance. GREAT IDEA!!!!

  5. JoshA says:

    By the logic of Perdue we should also eliminate every retirement and pension program that the state gives out, once you retire you are no longer giving any service to the state.
    With the low pay we give cops getting adequate life insurance isnt always an easy option. This program would not cost the state much, how many cops get killed on duty per year in GA? And giving more benefits to cops helps keep our neighberhoods safe. It encourages higher quality candidates to become cops, it keeps our best cops in the force, and it will ensure that a cop wont refuse to put his life in danger due to a fear that his wife and kids wont be taken care of. I guess Perdue is just soft on crime.

  6. JaseLP says:

    bowersville,

    I’m the son of a cop and Vietnam Veteran and I still believe it’s an issue of personal responsibility.

  7. bowersville says:

    JaseLP
    I am former “COP” retired. You are full of sh*t. Personal responsibility? All we thought of is getting the job done at the risk of our own life. At such a young age, we never thought of our own vulnerabilty. I am the son of WWII vet, does that qualify me to speak of GI benefits? H*ll no.

  8. What I don’t understand is if you read the bill, the survivor still has to pay the premiums for the insurance. So it isn’t a giveaway or anything. Women and children who don’t work often rely on their husband’s health care coverage through work. If something happens to him and then want to continue paying for that coverage, where exactly is the problem?

  9. Actually, the more you think about it, the more it seems like the state’s healthcare coverage is probably in crisis mode. Think about it, Perdue is turning people down EVEN IF THEY PAY THE PREMIUM. Clearly, to me this says they are losing money covering people even when they pay.

    Instead of doing the right thing and tackling this larger problem, Perdue is probably hoping it can wait until after his re-election. Obviously the solution is going to be raising premiums for state employees.

    I mean, just think about it, why else would someone who offers a service turn down those willing to pay for the service? The only reason I can think of is that the provider isn’t recouping the costs even with the charge. My guess is that the people who run state insurance told Sonny to veto this bill because their budget is already going to bust and they can’t afford to cover any more Georgians than they absolutely must.

    Interesting.

  10. JaseLP says:

    bowersville,

    Thanks to resorting to personal attacks and profanity…way to get your point across.
    I watched my dad die because he was exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam. I was left with just one parent and she was struggling to make ends meet. We didn’t take the benefits that were available to us.

  11. bowersville says:

    JaseLP,
    Then you of most must understand. I apoligize for the personal attack and the profanity. I only did it to get you to think at the cost of you dis-liking me. I know of others that have situations like you. You are not forgotten, and I for one support you, and whatever it costs. Please, don’t forget, there are others in similar situations, dispite the actions of government. there are us citizans who will step up to the bat for people like you!!!!!

  12. McCain-Rice\'08 says:

    If this bill is as bad as Decaturguy is portraying it, then I’d agree It was wrong to veto it..however, as a man who likes to see the facts..would someone please give me the bill name (ie SB2006) so I can read it..because I have a feeling there was a good reason he vetoed it and Id like to see what all the bill entails.

  13. stephaniemills21 says:

    MR ’08 – Not trying to be rude, but are you a moron? Seriously, Decaturguy gave you a freaking link to the bill in question in the text of the post. Trying paying attention sometime.

  14. bowersville says:

    Mr-R/ 08
    go to the top and click “veto pen” & ” a bill.” and read all about how an employee of this state, killed in the line of duty, by veto, is not eligble, even though depentdants pay equal contribution, will not recieve healthcare for dependent children. then make up your mind.

  15. stephaniemills21 says:

    And look at the reason Sonny gave for vetoing the bill.

    SB236 provides health care coverage to currently ineligible individuals. Pursuant to this bill, these non-employee recipients will subject the taxpayers of this state to the liability for the employers’ contribution without the reciprocal benefit of the services of that employee. Such a tradeoff is detrimental to the continued viability and financial stability of the State Health Benefit Plan. I therefore VETO SB236.

    He does not even mention that the bill he vetoed was for state employees killed in the line of duty.

    All partisanship aside, I really do not understand this one.

  16. bowersville says:

    So, stephaniemills21,
    If I follow this right. A dead employee of the state of geogia is of no value, nor his/her dependents. B*ll SH*T!! Let’s move this on up the line and make it federal policy that all federal employees are ineligble, Military, CIA, FBI, NSA so we can save tax dollars. Heh?

  17. McCain-Rice\'08 says:

    Well excuse me, I didnt realize that Veto Pen ment a link to the bill…so not being totally observent after a long day makes me a moron? well arnrt we all guilty then

  18. stephaniemills21 says:

    Um, Bowesville, I am on your side here. I think the veto was complete crap, and politically stupid. I was pointing out that Perdue was less than forthcomming with his press release.

    The folks that put their lives on the line everyday to protect the people of Georgia and the United States deserve all the help we can get. Police officers already do not make enough money in many part of the state. How many of them have to moonlight as security, bouncers, etc. just to make ends meet. And Chris makes a good point, How much would this really cost in the long run? Probably not too much.

  19. bowersville says:

    M/R 08
    You are excused. Have a nice day, didn’t say you were a moroon. I understand the long days. I enjoy the dialog, keep it up.

  20. stephaniemills21 says:

    MR ’08 – Again, not to be rude, but having read a lot of your comments on this board, you tend not to pay attention to what is actually said and read only what you want to read. Also, the veto pen link did not take you to the bill, the a bill link did.

  21. bowersville says:

    stephaniemills21,
    If there is a young widow out there that is a stay at home mom, with a child with a birth defect knowing this is a pre-existant condition with no hope of ins. coverage, and that the state or national government has deniened coverage to her because her dead HUSBAND IS NO LONGER A SERVICE TO US” in order to save tax dollars, there will be no forgiveness.

  22. Bull Moose says:

    I think the Governor’s excuse for the veto is a little dry… If it was such a bad bill, then what about all the Senators and House Members who voted for this bill?

    Also, I saw Sonny’s newest ad today. I think he’s twisting the facts a little. In Georgia, we can’t run deficits — it’s constitutionally mandated that the budget be balanced.

    I don’t want to vote for the Democrat but I’m not enthusiastic about Sonny.

  23. Decaturguy says:

    No other candidate told the widow and children of a slain state law enforcement officer that they are no longer eligible for state health insurance benefits because their spouse and their parent is no longer a “benefit” to the state … but Sonny did.

  24. jacewalden says:

    I agree with Bull Moose on this issue. Sonny’s reasoning is more than just “a little dry” though.

    I say this at the risk of my friend JaseLP having a stroke and killing me, but here we go:

    I agree that for most people, your health/life insurance is your own personal responsibility. However, I also believe that there is an exception when it comes to public servants such as Police Officers and Military Personnel.

    Right now our government is willing to give welfare handouts to a 17 year old unemployed girl with 4 kids who hasn’t done a damn thing to earn my tax dollars. This is the type of stuff that Sonny should be vetoing…these people are the real burden on tax payers.

    Why wouldn’t we be just as willing to give state benefits to the law enforcement officers and military personnel who actually deserve more than just our gratitude? Citizens in the private sector who sign up for a pension plan, get a pension/insurance plan provided by their employer, many of which cover the surviving spouses and children. Why shouldn’t state or federal employees be eligible for a pension/insurance plan provided by their employer that covers their surviving spouses and children?

    JaseLP, I have a lot of respect for the fact that your family chose not to take the benefits offered to you. However, I have just as much respect for the family that did choose to take the benefits. Because the bottom line here, is that law enforcement and military are necessary to the functioning of a nation. Whether you like it or not, it has to be your tax dollars that go to support these guys (they’re government employees). And if they die in the line of duty, it is a death worthy of more than just condolences. This is one area where the tax payers (whether by choice or not) should have to foot the bill.

  25. I think the state’s employee health care system might be entering crisis mode and they have to exclude everyone they possibly can for coverage.

    The real problem with this is the way our health care system is structured. First, employers provide health care which doesn’t make much sense (should they provide you groceries too?) and second employers treat it as a “benefit” that no one who has a job that provides health care really knows the value of. I guess self employed people understand the true costs of the health care system but the majority of people who get healthcare through their job don’t.

    So since it is a “benefit” the state can justify not giving it to deceased spouses because they are no longer providing a service to the state. Well, how can (for example) a 22 year old new mother who was widowed provide a valuable service to anyone? Or even a 45 year old stay at home mom who has sacrificed her career to raise her children so that her husband could provide a valuable service to the state. What is she supposed to do?

    Jase, you can have your opinion of what type of services and protection government should provide, but we need to be consistent. Right now government says to its employees if you work for us we will provide health insurance to you. Implicit in this agreement is that if you die on the job your loved ones will be taken care of for at the very least the amount of time it takes them to get on their feet. That was the bargain state employees made and they can’t just change the rules mid-game.

    It’s like how I have AAA. When I go on a long road trip, if my car breaks down they’ll come tow it because we’ve already agreed (I paid for the service). I might not go on the trip if I didn’t think I had this protection. They can’t just decide to cancel my policy after I’ve already entered into an agreement with them.

    Philosophical differences aside, I think we can agree that government should be consistent with respect to how it currently operates, if not with the families of deceased state employees who died in the line of fire than who else?

    What Sonny did was disgraceful plain and simple. There must be some other reason for this, most likely it is that the state employee health plan is in crisis. I remember when Democrats controlled the House Sonny called a pointless special session to score political points. Well by vetoing this bill he’s shown that when a state program really is in crisis mode he’s afraid to touch it until after an election. What a political jerk. I expect politics to be played during a campaign, but when it comes to the health insurance of widowed state employees (and their children) even I expected more from Sonny.

  26. South GA says:

    I am new to this blog. However, I would like to clear something up that I have read. There can be a budget deficit in the State of Ga. If the revenue estimates are too high and the revenue does not meet those estimates, then there is a deficit. When Sonny first took office, there was a 640 Million dollar deficit. Gov. Barnes set the revenue estimate too high for that year. Now there were also a lot of factors that played into this revenue deficit. There was a slow economy and we were in a recession. But there can be a deficit if the Gov. sets the revenue estimate too high. That is what Gov. Perdue is talking about when he says that he inherited a 640 Million dollar deficit. I have followed Ga politics and the budget for a long time and just wanted to clear this up for Bull Moose. This is my first post and may be my last but I enjoy reading the different points of view on this blog. I will say that it does get funny at times.

  27. South GA, there is also something called a rainy day fund. Barnes’s administration had put more than enough money into this fund to cover the projected deficit. Sonny acts like he showed up and had to find $640 million. Not really, he showed up and the rainy day fund had more than enough money to cover the revenue shortfall.

    If I recall, part of that revenue shortfall was caused because the state budget was still submitting money into the rainy day fund. Call it what you like but to act as if Barnes was irresponsible in his management of the state is just not calling it like it is. On the other hand, if a Democrat wins this year they will be able to run for re-election by saying “when I took office, the widows of police officers killed in the line of duty lost their state health insurance. I fixed that.”

  28. Bill Simon says:

    Bowersville,

    Based on your statement regading the widow and the child with the birth defect not being able to get insurance, it would appear that you do not agree with Perdue vetoing this bill.

    If you do not agree with Perdue vetoing the bill, then you and Stephanie are on the same side. You appear to be arguing with her.

  29. Bill Simon says:

    South Ga.

    Was it a “real” revenue deficit, as in actual cashflow deficit, or was it a “book-based” deficit? I’ve seen the commercial…and I’ve heard budget-babble in Congress and this state for years. That’s why I’m asking the question. because, I don’t believe any politicans when they quote to me any kinds of numbers.

  30. bowersville says:

    Bill Simon’
    Sometimes I get worked up and just fire off. If Ms. Mills is offended, I hope she understands. I am not offended by her posts, I am offended that these people do not understand her or this this issue. When I cited her by name, in my post, it was my feable attempt to support her view.

  31. stephaniemills21 says:

    Ms. Mills was not offended, just a little confused by what you said. And Bill, I never knew you cared.

  32. bowersville says:

    Thank-you Stepahanie…of all of the few posts I have made, I was most concerned about this one after it was pointed out to me you might be offended, I

  33. Bill Simon says:

    Stephanie, I don’t know if it’s a matter of “caring” as much as it’s a matter of wishing the argument/debate to flow correctly. Getting Bowersville on track with his/her railing was the purpose of my input.

    Now, please continue to think of me as an “old, bitter man.” 🙂

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