Health Insurance For Elected Folks Needs A Review

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 Being
an elected official is a thankless job, but rest assured there are plenty of
perks to go along with it.

In
Ocean City, along with respectable and understandable salaries, these officials
also receive wonderful health insurance coverage, and they only pay 10 percent
of the cost.

What’s
galling is historically nearly every elected official, and oftentimes his or
her family, takes public health insurance and does so without any sort of moral
dilemma. It’s been this way forever, as far as we can tell, and we believe this
is something that needs to end and be discussed immediately.

It’s
appalling that this issue did not surface publicly during Ocean City’s recent
“right-sizing” crusade, which included ending the town’s curbside recycling
program, reducing street lighting at certain periods of time, increasing the
daily bus pass and hiking parking rates. It’s particularly disturbing when
certain council members sought a salary reduction for the town’s staff and
others want to restructure the pay scale for new hires to the town when their
health insurance compensation reaches five figures.

It’s
not unusual for health insurance to be offered to elected officials. It happens
at all levels of government. However, what’s different is local elected
officials are part-time employees, and they should not be receiving these
expensive benefits at bargain rates when fees are being increased and services
cut.

It’s
extremely interesting that these elected officials have the best health
insurance plans available and that taxpayers, many of whom cannot afford health
insurance themselves, fund them. Perhaps, more common, is taxpayers struggle to
have the most basic coverage, while their tax dollars are being used to fund
“Cadillac” health insurance for elected officials. That’s a moral
contradiction.

At
least, in Berlin, the employee, in this case the elected official, has to fund
a larger burden, but only two elected officials there take any kind of health
insurance coverage.

We
think all elected bodies need to seriously reconsider health insurance as part
of the compensation package. It’s not acceptable to point to history as an
excuse. Health insurance costs have soared by tremendous percentages over the
last decade and it’s a tremendous burden for all governments and businesses to
fund for their employees.

If
elected officials opt for health insurance as part of their compensation, they
need to self-fund much more of it than 10 percent, the case in Ocean City.
Simply being permitted to be part of a group plan, negotiated by the government
to the lowest offered prices, is a perk in and of itself.  

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