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.

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joe bernstein
joe bernstein
15 years ago

Where else in the USA do part-timers get paid for medical/dental insurance?The buy-back is obscene greediness on the part of people already getting health coverage(mostly without a premium I’ll bet)-we have a legislature that is largely made up of filthy rich lawyers, civil servants with secure jobs and benefits,or union officials.Those union officials are not getting paid what the rank and file get,you can be sure.
And we wonder why the state is plagued with an entitlement mentality.It starts at the top in state government.

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
15 years ago

Sounds like:
“Only the little people have copays” or
“Let them eat cake, uh, I mean copays.”

The Chorus
The Chorus
15 years ago

Can anyone say out of touch with reality? Sounds like the esteemed Senator has been hittin’ the weed. Some leadership. Vote ’em all out.

15 years ago

Hey joe Bernstein,
It’s my understanding from working with State of RI managing a Federal Program, the employees had medical/dental co-payments taken out of their regular bi-weekly pay at a rate up to $77 per every other week (26 pay periods) and if they elected not to use or be part of the State of RI medical/dental benefits plan, because of computer programming the funds were still deducted but, returned in December not to exceed $2,002.00. In other words, the state still took the money out of bi-weeklt pay, gained interest over the year and gave back less the interest gained or so called buy-back which was really I’ll hold your money, gain interest and screw you in the end.
In the case of the General Assembly, my understanding is that is a complete freebie paid by the taxpayers and maybe an outright $2,002.00 gain in payroll! The General Assemblies’ version of “share the pain” by us part timers!
I remember the RI medical/dental plan as offered was lower value than Federal GSA plans but I opted out to pay for my own private plan with higher value and lower office and fixed prescription payments which I’ve been happy with since 1988.
By the way, I did two volunteer back-to-back 1 year tours in Nam late 60s when thing were getting real interesting and hot. Did a lot of gnd and air (47s) all over Nam. I’m retired and living off of private retirement income and leaving FERS and SS untouched till 70 yr old to gain higher monthly income. HI has an advantage to GSA retired over RI.

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