Dr. Rudy Mueller, Democratic Party candidate for the 150th state Assembly seat, is calling for the elimination of taxpayer funded health insurance benefits for part-time state Legislature members.
"The current system is just not fair to taxpayers considering millions of people in New York state, including thousands in Chautauqua County, have no insurance,'' Mueller said. "And even more people are underinsured here and around our state. While our current legislators can't seem to find the courage or solutions to find quality, affordable health insurance for all hard working New York residents, these same legislators continue laws that provide comprehensive, affordable health insurance benefits for themselves and their families, which is paid for mostly by taxpayers."
Assuming the average state legislator, with family coverage, receives at least $10,000 a year in taxpayer funded health insurance subsides, elimination of this benefit would save state taxpayers well more than $2 million a year. And, if all local government part-time elected officials had this benefit eliminated, Mueller said it is possible tens of millions of dollars would be saved for taxpayers. A few years ago, the Chautauqua County Legislature made the decision to eliminate health care insurance, saving county taxpayers more than $250,000 a year.
"The fact is, most part-time employees in this state are not provided employer funded health insurance coverage," Mueller said. "Why should elected legislators receive comprehensive health insurance and treatment at lower costs than the people they represent?. Maybe health care costs and the health insurance debacle would have been solved many years ago if our elected officials did not have their personal health insurance benefits paid for by taxpayers in the first place.When I am elected to the state Assembly, I will continue to not accept taxpayer funded health insurance benefits offered to legislators, consistent with my previous actions at the county. Likewise, I will introduce legislation in the Assembly to eliminate this taxpayer funded benefit for all elected state legislators. By passing this law your elected officials will finally recognize how difficult it can be for part-time or even full-time employed people, and many others, to find affordable health insurance and medical care in our state. Hopefully they will then deliver real solutions to the major problems of rising health care costs and lack of coverage for all the people they represent."