Regional
3:10 pm
Wed October 6, 2004

Special Session On Health Care Begins

Frankfort, KY – With a constant flow of teachers protesting outside, the general assembly convened a special session Tuesday to deal with state employee health insurance benefits.
Most of the day's work went on behind closed doors with lawmakers attempting to sweeten next year's health insurance benefits for teachers, school district employees and state workers and retirees.
House Speaker Jody Richards of Bowling Green said he's already consulted with the attorney general's office about the state's existing contracts with health insurance providers. Richards says it was possible for the state to void those contracts and extend the current benefits through next year.
Last month Governor Fletcher announced an overhaul of next year's health benefits for 229,000 retired and active public school employees and state workers. Those covered by the plan said it would increase deductibles, premiums and other medical expenses.
The Kentucky Education Association also voted to strike less than a week before the November elections if the current plan isn't restored.