Health insurance may be cut from collective bargaining under Bra - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health insurance may be cut from collective bargaining under Branstad plan

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(KWWL) -

State employees are feeling a growing concern regarding the future of their health insurance. Governor Branstad is looking to revise the state's collective bargaining law, which means employees would not be able to negotiate their benefits.

Instead, Branstad wants to create a statewide health insurance program.

Public employees who would be affected includes teachers, DOT workers, sanitation workers, and even police officers.    

Waterloo Police Officer and Vice President of the Iowa State Police Association David McFarland says he's concerned about the future of his health insurance. 

McFarland has been with the Waterloo Police department for more than twenty years, and for the last forty years, health insurance has been part of collective bargaining in the state of Iowa. Under Brandstad's proposal, the future of health insurance is in the air.

"It would take our coverage that we have and we don't know what they would give us," said McFarland. "You know would we be paying $400 dollars a month? Would we be paying $100 dollars a month? What would our co-pays be? What would our deductibles be? That's all stuff that currently we are allowed to negotiate with the city of Waterloo."

A benefit McFarland says he's earned over his years of service. 

 "It's just one more thing for these officers to worry about," said McFarland. "You know, not only our current officers, but how will that affect future candidates when they look at the state of Iowa and say well, they're not allowed to negotiate this, maybe I should go somewhere that does allow me, they have better benefits package."

McFarland sees the proposal as an added barrier to recruiting officers.

 "Given all the current events that have been going on, all the officers that have been shot or wounded, or injured, we've seen a tremendous amount of support of people saying they support us," said McFarland. "I just hope they realize how important this is to us, that that's one less thing we don't want to have to worry about, something being taken from us, and it not only affects us but also our families."

With Republican control in the Senate and growing majority in the House, McFarland says there's concern that Branstad would be able to enact this plan. 

"Neither the Governor nor the state know what we've given up as concessions and negotiations to get the current benefits that we have," said McFarland. "He's taking a local insurance issue and making it now a state issue by creating a state plan."

McFarland says he encourages those that oppose this proposal to reach out their legislature. 

"I think the public employees deserve what they have," said McFarland. 

No changes have been set in stone for public employees. Branstad is expected to reveal those plans when the legislative session meets in January. 

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