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Senate panel keeps cheap health insurance for state lawmakers

by Dara Kam | February 28th, 2012

Sen. Joe Negron wants Florida legislators to pay as much for their health insurance as their employees do. But a majority of his colleagues on the Senate Budget Committee voted to keep the perk after arguing that it helps allow regular folks to serve in office.

Negron filed an amendment that would have hiked lawmakers monthly premiums from $8.34 to $50 a month for individuals and from $30 to $180 a month for families. The change would have brought lawmakers’ health insurance costs in line with what state workers, who’ve gone for six years without a pay raise, pay, which Negron called a bargain.

“To me there’s just no rationale for it,” Negron argued. “We should all be treated equally. Legislators shouldn’t have richer benefits than the people that we work with.”

But Negron’s Republican colleagues expressed concern that the costs of being in office have increased and the cheap health care is a perk for an otherwise demanding job that pays less than $30,000 although it takes up so much time that some lawmakers have no other employment.

Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, called Negron’s proposal a “political statement” that could make discourage Floridians who aren’t rich from running for office.

“It’s very difficult to vote against it. But I don’t think it’s good policy,” Bogdanoff said.

Negron, a candidate for Senate president in 2016 and chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services budget committee, bristled at the criticism.

“It isn’t a political statement,” Negron said, adding that he left the Capitol after midnight this morning and ran into two janitors, one of whom was working a second job.

The $180-a-month family coverage is a great deal, Negron said, because equivalent coverage in the private sector costs up to $500.

“I can see no rationale why we as legislators should be treated five to six times better than 27,000 of our co-workers,” he said. “We’re saying legislators should lead by example…We’re not entitled to preferential treatment.”

Senate budget chief JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, held a voice vote on the amendment and ruled that it failed to pass. Negron said he agreed with Alexander’s call.

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12 Responses to “Senate panel keeps cheap health insurance for state lawmakers”


    You can’t be serious.


    They should get special breaks while we all suffer?!?!?!?!

    Man, this makes me SO ANGRY.

    DEMOCRATS 100% in 2012.

  2. Shake My Head Says:

    Do you really think that Democratic lawmakers would vote to increase their health insurance rates?


    Democrats provide REAL LEADERSHIP on health care, to bring costs down and make health care available.

    Republicans spend YOUR taxpayer money (and mine) rejecting health care reforms in a long, drawn-out, court process.

    That’s pretty much all anybody needs to know about the parties’ take on health care.

    The Democrats are clearly the right party to lead Florida into the modernity we all crave in our state. The idiot Republicans in Tally — from Governor Imbecile on down — have proven time and time again that they are nothing but an UTTER FAILURE for the people of Florida.

  4. Joe Budd Says:

    What a joke! Family benefits for $30 per month? You think $180 is too expensive? I pay $682 for a family of 5 with a $6000 deductible! Pigs get fat hogs get slaughtered.

  5. Downtown Danny Says:

    Another “less government spending” move by the Republicans. Now they’ll go out campaigning and yapping about how they stand for “less government” – what they do & what they say are always the exact opposite – until it comes to forcing government into your personal life – then they do exactly what they say – force you to live your life based on their “morals.”

  6. Struggling to get by Says:

    I’m a state worker and I pay $290 a month for employee plus child HMO medical/dental insurance. No raises in six years. I am one who pays her mortgage and bills and watch how some neighbors sit in their homes and haven’t paid their mortgage in years. There is something so wrong with this picture.

  7. b harris Says:

    The article should have been on page 1. How fortunate they are to be able to decide their own cost of insurance. It would be great if The Post would publish a list of “perks” as well as all the benefits and salaries of being a Florida Legislator. Can anyone in the real world imagine paying $8.40 for insurance????

  8. For the People Says:

    Incredible. This story should be highlighted, not buried. Bogdanoff listed her net worth at $740,000 in 2010. Mike Bennett and JD Alexander are multi-millionaires. Why isn’t the tea party all over this?





    My Senator is Ellyn Bogdanoff.

    I will be calling her today over this farce.

  10. Theresa Says:

    I am an 18 year teacher here in the state of Florida. I have made the same salary since 2008 w/ no raises, step increases and w/ my dependent health care costs going up so I make less now than I did in 2008. I have a 19 y.o. daughter w/ cancer and it costs me nearly $400 a month to insure her. Thankfully, my other 2 younger children are on Florida Healthy kids. I could never afford to put me and the kids on insurance through the school board. It would cost me close to $1,000 a month. And these idiot lawmakers are whining about $180 for a family. They need to go to hell.


    Theresa, God bless you and your child.

    I wish that more people in your situation would raise your voice and tell the POLITICIANS in Florida exactly how you feel.

    They NEED to hear how THEIR policies negatively effect the average (i.e. not extraordinarily wealthy) Floridian.

  12. carl streim Says:

    I can not believe the gall ( spelled with a B) of our elected officales they raise our insurances and keep theres low then you wonder why the young voter dont give a care . In the future we will see voters boot out all these reps. & sens. for new and young people . I am 70 and I hope it happens soon so I can help vote them in , I also hope the people responcible for this vote all ROT IN HELL

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