Published 8:17 am Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Board right to turn down health proposal
A state insurance board turned down the Alabama Senate's bid for state-funded health insurance last week, the Associated Press announced.
In the closing hours of its last session on June 7, the Senate passed a resolution by an unrecorded voice vote to seek coverage through an insurance program operated by the State Employees Insurance Board.
Finance Director Jim Main, a member of Gov. Bob Riley's Cabinet, urged the board to reject the resolution, and the board did so without opposition.
Board members said they need a resolution passed by both houses of the Legislature for the application for insurance to be official.
Sen. E.B. McClain, D-Midfield, said other Southern states provide publicly funded health insurance for their legislators and Alabama should do the same.
"I don't think we are any less important than any other state," McClain told AP in a phone interview.
The question here is not one of importance. It is a question of ethics. Our Senate wasted no time voting itself a hefty raise and passing the aforementioned resolution, while allowing more important bills to die in the basket.
Aside from the fact that over 30 part-time legislators have health insurance through the public schools or colleges they or their spouses work for, they can already get state funded insurance – provided that they pay the full $640 per month.