Justice urges PEIA task force to 'shake up the world'
By Phil Kabler, Charleston Gazette-Mail
Kicking off the first meeting of the Task Force on PEIA Stability, Gov. Jim Justice urged the 29-member panel to “shake up the world” and find lasting solutions to control rising costs for the health plan for more than 200,000 West Virginians.
“I’m wanting you to find a solution, and not wanting it to take forever,” Justice said Tuesday in brief introductory comments. “It is massively important to the state. This is a ticket number that’s gigantic, and it’s growing every day.”
Justice issued an executive order Feb. 28, in the midst of the statewide teacher strike, to create the panel in response to teachers’ demands for a “fix, not a freeze” on seemingly yearly PEIA premium increases and benefit cuts.
During the 38-minute organizational meeting, the panel of legislators, teachers union representatives, public employees and retirees, and “at-large” members with expertise in insurance or health care, voted to divide up into committees to focus on three areas:
- Comprehensive plan review
- Cost and revenue
- Legislative and public outreach
Task force chairman Mike Hall, Justice’s chief of staff, called on the latter group to meet prior to the task force’s next meeting, on April 10, to begin scheduling public hearings around the state on the Public Employees Insurance Agency.