ATLANTA -- School teachers have grown accustomed to bearing the brunt of government cutbacks. But this time, they say, it's personal.
"I can't afford to see my doctor right now," said Tina Durham, a paraprofessional who works in the Paulding County school system.
"The out of pocket costs are going to go from approximately $500 to probably $2-3,000," said Jennifer Hall, referring to her teenage son's need to see a doctor for a hereditary heart condition. Hall is a teacher in Cherokee County.
They are sounding off about stark changes made this year in their state health insurance -- which some of them say made their family health care unaffordable. Tuesday's rally outside the Capitol directed its ire squarely at Gov. Nathan Deal.
"I have rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, which is a chronic illness. I can't afford my treatment, because of our new insurance," said Durham.
Late last month, Gov. Deal responded by announcing he was infusing the insurance program with $100 million in reserve funds. But teachers said that's not solving the problem.
"I have spent $3,455.09 out of pocket" for treatment of multiple sclerosis, said Jennifer Ludlum, a Gwinnett County teacher. "The changes (Deal) makes to the prescription benefits might get me a hundred dollars of that back."
Anger among teachers also peaked three elections ago, when they said they'd been betrayed by then-Gov. Roy Barnes. In that 2002 election, Barnes became a one-term governor.
"The first time I did not vote Democrat was when I voted against Roy Barnes," said Allison Webb, a Cherokee Co. Spanish teacher. "Teachers unseated him and it can happen again."
Deal's office referred us to the Department of Community Health for comment. A spokeswoman there did not respond to emailed questions or a request for an interview, but instead emailed us a three-week old press release.
However, Gov. Deal has said the Affordable Care Act is partly the culprit in the tumult now rippling through state employee health plans.