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Speaker Bolger cuts benefits for House employees

By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network


Lawmakers and staff members of the Michigan House will be required to pay more for their health insurance benefits come October 1. As Michigan Public Radio's Laura Weber reports, the change was ordered by House Speaker Jase Bolger.

Bolger made the decision to require all state House employees to pay as much as 20 percent of their health insurance benefits alongside an 18 percent reduction to the money lawmakers have allotted for their office expenses. Ari Adler is Speaker Bolger's spokesman.

"And that's not pleasant for anyone, and we empathize with them," he says. "But we also empathize with the taxpayers who are facing many similar situations in their own households, and we all have to share in the sacrifice."

The changes ordered by Bolger's office come amidst a debate between the House and Senate over how much teachers and local government employees should be required to pay for their health benefits. Adler says House lawmakers need to lead by example if they plan to cut benefits for other public workers.

The House Democratic caucus supports the new policy, but many Democrats oppose passing a law to force public employees to pay more for their benefits.

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