Booher votes to end health care for retired lawmakers

LANSING –-Legislation to end lifetime health care benefits for state legislators and save taxpayers more than $5 million a year was approved on Wednesday by the Michigan Senate, said Sen. Darwin Booher, who voted to end the benefit.

“As Michigan families continue to struggle in a tough economy and the state facing annual budget deficits, ending this benefit is the fiscally responsible thing to do,” said Booher, R-Evart.  “These retiree benefits cost the state $5.3 million in 2010, and this would have only increased as more lawmakers retire and health care costs rise. I have voted before to end this benefit, and I am encouraged that with this Legislature and governor, it will finally become a reality.”

House Bill 4087 will end the practice that funded 90 percent of health care costs for retired lawmakers from age 55 to age 65, when they would be eligible for Medicare.

“Ending this unsustainable debt on future taxpayers also about fairness to Michigan residents who expect us to spend their hard-earned dollars wisely,” Booher said. “It builds on our previous reforms to reduce the cost of government, which include requiring all Legislators to pay 20 percent of our health care premiums and cutting our pay by 10 percent.”

The bill returns to the House for concurrence, after which it is expected to go to the governor to be signed into law.