Teachers form group to fight for better healthcare - CBS46 News

Teachers form group to fight for better healthcare

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CHEROKEE COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -

A group of teachers from Cherokee County has formed an activist group after they say the state offered them only one healthcare plan this year.

Teachers Rallying Against Georgia Insurance Changes (TRAGIC) already has some 4,000 members who have signed a petition to oppose the state's health insurance.

"I never imagined that something like this would grow so fast in four short days," said Cameron Johnston, an elementary school teacher for more than a decade. "It tells me … people are very passionate and very scared and very concerned."

The new insurance plan affects not only teachers but an estimated 650,000 state employees.

Teachers said the plan they were forced to sign up for has higher premiums and fewer benefits.

"Every single penny counts, and whenever half your paycheck is going to doctor's visits and medications, that's a huge, huge consideration," said teacher Aimee Collins, whose husband is suffering from terminal cancer.

TRAGIC is encouraging teachers and state workers to call the governor's office and express their concerns about the healthcare plan.

Teachers said they have endured furloughs and gone without pay raises for years.

"It's just another attack on teachers from the state government," said John Carter, a middle school band teacher. "That's all it is. It is a cash grab, and there's no other way to put it.  It's balancing our state budget on the backs of our teachers."  

TRAGIC is planning a rally at the state Capitol on Jan. 18.

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