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first_imgJohn Gregg’s $239,114.64 Issueby ABDUL HAKIM  SHABAZZ f or IndianaForefrontDemocratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg has a problem and it’s worth about $239,114.64.Because by the end of the year, that’s how much taxpayers are estimated to have paid for what basically amounts to free healthcare for Gregg, his wife, his ex-wife and two sons.You see back in 2002, when Gregg was Speaker of the House, he along with then Republican Senate Leader Bob Garton passed legislation giving lawmakers lifetime health care. Yes, lifetime, as in when they left office the taxpayers would still be picking up the tab for most of their health insurance.House Speaker Brian Bosma ended the perk in 2006, but due to legal/constitutional restraints they couldn’t end it retroactively. So the Speaker authored a law saying any lawmaker elected or re-elected after 2006 could no longer get the benefit. A number of them retired. And today, Gregg and about 30 other lawmakers are still receiving it.With respect to Gregg’s family, coverage for his former spouse ended in June 5, 2006. Coverage for his current wife began on March 30, 2013 and coverage for his two sons ended on December 31 of 2015. Those same records also show the House of Representatives paid $202,863.63 in benefits for Gregg and his family through the end of 2015 and is expected to pay another $36,251.01 in 2016.Gregg’s campaign is defending the benefit, arguing it’s not free, but he does pay premiums. Which is true, but they won’t disclose the amount.Luckily you have me.In 2002, a traditional family health insurance plan under the state was $8,993.60. A retiring lawmaker would only pay about $343.67 or 4 percent of the costs. And the law locked in that rate for life any lawmaker who had six years and one day of service. Extrapolate that to today. And assuming Gregg is on the traditional plan, he is paying $1,440, saving about $34k -$36k year. Or that’s what you’re paying for him and his family’s health insurance.Now my Democratic friends say this isn’t an issue because Gregg didn’t do anything illegal and some have even brought up Governor Mike Pence’s salary when he was in Congress. And to be honest, I was surprised Gregg was still on the program. I figured he would have been on his own plan since he was President of Vincennes University at one time and worked for a Fortune 500 company. Regardless, I think my democratic friends’ positions show a fundamental misunderstanding of politics.While voters may not appreciate the subtleties between acquired wealth and deferred compensation, they can sure wrap their arms around any politician (who is supposed to be part-time) writing a law to give him and his family basically free health insurance 14 years after they left office.And if you don’t believe me, just watch the campaign commercials that are likely to come out of all this.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

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