Should RI lawmakers help pay for their health insurance?
On Wednesday, the House Finance Committee will review a bill requiring members of the RI General Assembly to pay 20% of their health insurance premiums. A proposal in the Senate would charge them 15%.
The idea is if state employees have to pay for their health insurance, so should elected officials. Currently, lawmakers get their insurance for free, but many volunteer a contribution, ranging from 5% to 20% of the cost. Representative Grace Diaz, who has very limited income, is the only member that doesn’t pay for her insurance.
The free health care is part of a constitutional amendment approved by the voters to encourage a more economically diverse crowd on Smith Hill by giving lawmakers a small salary and benefits instead of a pension and a stipend.
What do you think? Should Senators and Representatives pay their way? Or are the benefits a form of payment for their public service? Weigh in here!