House members say yes to cheap health insurance — for themselves

Florida House Republicans last month loudly and proudly rejected billions of dollars in federal money that would have provided health insurance to 1 million poor Floridians.

Quietly, they kept their own health insurance premiums staggeringly low. House members will pay just $8.34 a month for state-subsidized health care next year, or $30 a month to cover their entire family.

That’s one-sixth of what state senators and most state employees will pay, and one-tenth of the cost to the average private-sector worker, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

It’s also less than the $25 a month House Republicans wanted to charge poor Floridians for basic coverage such as a limited number of doctor visits or preventive care.

House Republicans, including Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, would not say why the House did not raise its premiums to match the Senate. The premium increase was also part of Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed budget.

In a statement Monday, Weatherford said: “We are aware of the differences in what House members pay compared to other state employees for health insurance and are looking forward to addressing it next session.”

The discrepancy, even if it’s addressed, doesn’t diminish the awkwardness of House lawmakers accepting cheap, subsidized health insurance for themselves while effectively saying no to health care for others.

Full article: http://www.tampabay. … r-themselves/2120758



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