New Jersey's 13th Legislative District

Senator Joe Kyrillos

Senator Joe Kyrillos
Senator Tom Kean

Democrats Stop Planned Vote on Bill Reducing Cost to Taxpayers for Public Employee Healthcare Benefits

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Measure Mandates Efficiencies to Cut Cost of Government by Eliminating Expensive Redundancies

A planned vote on legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-37) and Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-13) to enact efficiencies protecting taxpayers from the exploding cost of public employee healthcare benefits was blocked today by the majority Senate Democrats. The bill was removed at the last minute from the agenda of today’s session of the New Jersey Senate.

Senate Democrats blocked a vote on legislation prohibiting public employees from being covered by more than one health insurance plan and limiting payouts for waiving coverage. (©iStock.com)

The bill, S-979, would prohibit multiple coverage by public employees with more than one job, eliminates cross-coverage by spouses who are both public employees, and caps payouts for school employees who waive coverage.

“The rapidly rising cost of public employee healthcare benefits is strangling government budgets and hurting struggling taxpayers,” said Kean. “We cannot afford to ignore critical efficiencies that would lower the cost of government, especially when we can do so without impacting the healthcare that public employees receive. I am disappointed that Democrats wouldn’t allow a vote on this critical taxpayer protection to occur today.”

Some key points of the legislation:

  • Restricts individuals with multiple public jobs, including elected officials, from receiving healthcare benefits coverage from more than one public employer;
  • Requires public employees whose spouses are also public employees to elect to receive coverage together from one public employer or to each receive individual plans so they are not cross-covered;
  • Caps payouts for school employees who waive healthcare coverage at 25% of savings or $5,000, as is already the case for other public employees; and
  • Prohibits any waiver payments for elected officials, and forces annual re-authorizations of the waiver payment policy which could update the proper amounts and help public employers determine the appropriateness of keeping the practice.

“Private sector workers have long had to make choices to reduce unnecessary healthcare premium costs,” added Kyrillos. “Applying those proven efficiency strategies to the public sector would help protect taxpayers and stop the drain of funding from other important programs and services. That we can’t move forward with such an obvious measure is further proof that Democrats in the Legislature continue to put their union supporters before taxpayers.”

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