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Opinion: Solving the PEIA riddle is vital for WV

WHEELING, W.VA. — Pay is only part of the problem, in the minds of many public school teachers in West Virginia. To them, PEIA is the very dirtiest of the dirty four-letter words.

At two strokes, Gov. Jim Justice has both pacified some teachers and made matters worse regarding the Public Employees Insurance Agency. The PEIA provides health insurance for teachers and other state employees.

On the salary front, the governor’s plan for a 1-percent raise this year and additional 1-percent boosts during the next few years isn’t going over well.

Here’s the thing: That’s a matter of revenue — money going out of state coffers and into teachers’ pockets. What about the other side of the equation, which involves the PEIA?

Many PEIA enrollees were scheduled to pay higher premiums this year. But on Friday, Justice came up with a plan to hold increases down for thousands of enrollees.

That will make them happy. But the catch is that health insurance costs money. Someone has to cover the bottom line. Justice’s plan will make it more difficult for the PEIA to do that. …

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