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Georgia State Employees Rallying For Insurance Choice

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State employees may have won a victory late last month when the Department of Community Health re-instated a co-pay system for some health care costs---but they say the fight isn't over. Re-instating the co-pay system will help - but it doesn't go into effect until mid-March. Meanwhile some workers are feeling the bite of increased costs.

State workers from across Georgia rallied at the Capitol in Atlanta on Tuesday...fighting for more choices in health insurance next year...to avoid the trap of increased out of pocket costs forced upon them this year. Local teacher Robby Richardson's story illustrates the problem. He has chronic health problems and has to undergo regular dialysis. "I cleaned out my account - the little thing they give you - I cleaned it out getting my meds this month," says Richardson. And then he got sick…feeling bad for a couple of weeks - afraid to go to the doctor because of the uncertain expense. Last Friday - he was overcome in the middle of lecturing to his class, "Just all of a sudden I just you know - started feeling it and I'm like okay - we're gonna take a break and I sat down."

He ended up being taken to the hospital in an ambulance and says he was diagnosed with a strep-type infection in his blood - his is one of the stories protestors told at the capitol on Tuesday. "I actually wrote a speech for the rally and I wrote a speech and they videotaped me in the bed and I took a few pictures - my wife took a few pictures - and I sent it to them and I said do what you want to with it - if it can help, use it by all means…it's the example of everything we've all been afraid of so far - you know, you get sick because you're afraid to go to the doctor."

Richardson is active with the group that planned the rally – T.R.A.G.I.C.. - which now stands for "Teachers Rally to Advocate for Georgia Insurance Choices."

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