MOVE OVERRIDES FUNDING INCLUDED IN STATE BUDGET
State employees in South Carolina will pay an average of $7.24 more per month for their health insurance – a move that will save taxpayers an estimated $5.8 million (well … assuming our state had a mechanism for rebating money to taxpayers).
Because it doesn’t, that money will be spent elsewhere in state government as part of this year’s record-setting $23 billion budget.
Also, taxpayers remain on the hook for $14.8 million worth of premium increases in the current state budget. They are also shelling out as much as $100 million to provide pay raises to state employees.
So … did you get a pay raise this year? Did three-quarters of your health insurance premium increase get picked up by somebody else? Oh … and what happened to all that government rhetoric about health insurance premiums going down?
Or are we still waiting on U.S. President Barack Obama’s socialized medicine bill to do that?
Anyway … the decision to hike premiums was made by a 3-2 majority of the S.C. Budget and Control Board (SCBCB) on the motion of S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley. Voting with the governor were State Treasurer Curtis Loftis and S.C. Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom. Voting against the premium hike were S.C. Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman and House Ways and Means Chairman Brian White.
Both Leatherman and White immediately disputed whether the five-member board had the authority to override the legislature’s appropriation – while S.C. Democratic Party chairman Dick Harpootlian indicated that a lawsuit related to the decision was in the works.
For a more detailed recap of the debate over the premium hike, check out this story by reporter Adam Beam of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper …