Michigan Senate okays increase to state employee health care costs
Under a bill passed by the Michigan Senate yesterday, all public employees must pay at least 20 percent of their health insurance premiums. The vote was 25-13, with one Republican voting against the bill.
Proponents of the bill say it will save the state $174 million, as well as saving other public employers in the state about twice that much. Critics say the bill amounts to a de facto special tax on public employees designed to help offset a cut of nearly 80 percent in business taxes.
Democrats point out that the Republican-led Senate rejected an amendment to the bill that would have ended lifetime healthcare for legislators, saying in a press release:
“Republicans refuse to share in the sacrifice to move Michigan forward,” Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer said. “They refuse to give up their lifetime health care benefits, but expect struggling families to pay more. It’s just another example of Republican hypocrisy and the GOP attack on the middle class.”
“You can’t force all public employees to pay more for their health care coverage and then not follow suit,” added Brewer. “What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander.”