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SA Chamber Proposal: Police, Firefighters Must Accept Health Cuts

  The Board of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce today is debating a strongly worded resolution calling on police and firefighters to accept significant cuts in their health care benefits, 1200 WAOI news reports.

 

  "San Antonio is the only major city in Texas where Uniform City Employees pay no healthcare premiums for dependents or families," the statement says.

 

  The proposed statement calls on uniformed city employees health benefits to 'more closely mirror the premiums, deductibles, and out of pocket expenses of city civilian employees.  The city civilian employees receive much more generous health care benefits than do the private sector workers who fund the health programs.

 

  "Currently, public safety accounts for 66.5% of the General fund budget, which exceeds the Texas peer group cities, is too high and will continue to increase if not addressed," the statement says.

 

  The statement goes even further, also calling on the Legislature to 'address the state statute limiting the flexibility to modify the structure of the pension funds for uniformed city employees.'  Previously, uniformed employee pensions have not been part of the negotiation process.

 

  The Chamber proposal also calls on the city to 'continue to study pre-funded healthcare for retirees and explore options such as bridge insurance under the Affordable Care Act.'

 

  The Chamber statement recognizes that police officers and firefighters 'put their health at risk while performing their job duties,' but points out that other city workers like public works employees, animal care officers and code compliance officers do the same, and don't have similar cushy health care plans.

 

  In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says fishermen, lumberjacks, and pilots are the most dangerous jobs in America.  Police Officers rank the tenth most dangerous, and Firefighters are not even listed among the ten most dangerous jobs in America.

 

  The Chamber statement says the health care benefits enjoyed by uniformed city workers are the envy of the city.  In addition to no monthly premiums deducted from their paycheck, there is a $250 annual deductible and an annual maximum out of pocket cost of $600.  Even many of the 'gold plans' on the Obamacare exchange called for monthly premiums in excess of $200 per individual, and annual deductibles of $3,000 or more.

 

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