Giving Legislators the Chance to Turn Down Their Cake and Eat It, Too
One wonders whether Senate Democrat Doyenne Teresa Paiva Weed feels that this came out wrong:
But while House leaders have declared themselves in support of the move [to require legislators to contribute to their healthcare costs], which has both financial and symbolic significance in a year when the state is facing a huge deficit and thousands face removal from state subsidized health-care rolls, Senate leaders are less enthusiastic. In a brief interview yesterday, Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Paiva Weed explained why.
Asked about her reservations about the bill, she said she believes lawmakers show more “leadership” by contributing voluntarily to the cost of their health insurance, as she decided to do in recent weeks.
You see, they have to give themselves the opportunity to soak the Rhode Island taxpayers for $17,620 fully paid family healthcare so that they can have the opportunity to decline to take it. Or not:
At last count, only 26 of the state’s 113 lawmakers — more than half of them Republican — are voluntarily paying a portion of their health-care premiums. The majority pay nothing; 21 lawmakers each get a $2,002 annual waiver payment for giving it up.
Ah, such leadership as we have in Rhode Island!
… a handful of legislators fretted that ending the $2,002 waiver payments might run up the state’s cost by spurring some legislators into taking state-subsidized insurance they are now doing without.
“A handful,” huh? Guess we’ll just have to vote them all out of office.