Schuitmaker: Ending lawmakers lifetime healthcare benefits saves taxpayers millions

LANSING, Mich.—The state Senate approved legislation Wednesday that ends lifetime healthcare benefits for state legislators, a move that Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker said will save taxpayers more than $5 million per year.

“This is a matter of fairness and fiscal responsibility,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “State employees and workers in the private sector have to work upwards of 30 years to receive the type of retiree healthcare coverage state lawmakers get. As we continue to face budget deficits and cutbacks, continuing to fund lifetime healthcare for lawmakers is impractical and unsustainable.”

House Bill 4087 ends the practice that funded 90 percent of healthcare costs for lawmakers. The reform measure will strip lifetime benefits from 95 of the 148 sitting legislators, or more than 60 percent. Benefits will remain for existing retirees and for those who have vested by Jan. 1, 2013.

The bill, which received approval by the state House of Representatives in June, returns there for concurrence, whereupon it is expected to go to the governor for his signature.