Michigan State House approves cut to lawmakers' retiree health benefits

Oct 7, 2011

The state House passed legislation yesterday that would eliminate retiree health care benefits for future and some current state lawmakers. The state Senate passed the measure earlier this week. The Associated Press reports:

The retiree benefit will be eliminated for lawmakers who have not served at least six years in the Legislature before Jan. 1, 2013.

Most current state senators would remain eligible for the benefit once they retire and reach age 55. Most current members of the Michigan House would be ineligible for coverage because they don't have enough years of service.

Lawmakers have debated the issue for years but didn't agree on a final version of the plan until this week.

The legislation now goes to Governor Snyder for his signature.

The AP continues:

The vote shows that some lawmakers are willing to sacrifice some of their own benefits in an era of state budget cuts to education and other services. Thursday's vote came after a 10 percent pay cut for state lawmakers, along with many other statewide elected officials, went into effect this year.

"As I've said before with other government reforms, the taxpayers of Michigan simply cannot afford to be as generous as they once were," Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger, among those who will lose eligibility for the benefits, said in a statement.