Not to worry... The High flying legislature takes care of its own safety net

The Utah Legislature's Republican majority is full of high-minded ideals about individual freedom and cutting spending, even if it means the poor are deprived of basic medical care. Which makes it that much more jaw-dropping that seven years ago, lawmakers adopted legislation to extend state medical benefits for former legislators of retirement age.

Taxpayers pay 40 percent of insurance costs for legislators who served for four years and 80 percent for eight years of service. Lawmakers who were in office for 10-plus years get benefits for free. After these former legislators turn 65, the state will pay the lawmakers' Medicare supplemental insurance. Those who leave office before they turn 65 can pay a monthly Cobra payment of about $800 for their families until they are eligible for the taxpayer-subsidized insurance. 

If that seems like socialized healthcare at its best, Utah’s free-market lawmakers don’t seem to have noticed. Right now, about 20 former legislators are using the health insurance benefit and the same number are making Cobra extension payments so they can access state medical benefits when they retire.  Sen. Chris Buttars retired right at the 10-year mark. The venerable senator, who suffers from advanced diabetes, has healthcare covered by taxpayers for the rest of his life. Nice.


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