Up for Debate: Council's health benefits

Monday, October 8, 2012 at 1:34am

The Metro Council is considering a bill that would eliminate a policy that offers former two-term council members the opportunity to continue to participate in the Metro health care plan for life. What are your thoughts on the policy and do you think if should be eliminated?

Filed under: City Voices
Tagged: Up for Debate

232 Comments on this post:

By: puddycat on 10/8/12 at 2:58

I've never understood why these people and others, who are PART TIME "public servants" and are compensated accordingly, should receive any benefits at all, be it health, retirement, parking, or anything other than a part time paycheck. Do other part time metro employees receive comparably generous compensation packages? And, how about the school board and others - do they have similar "perks" in their compensation packages? By the time all of this is flushed out, the cost number may have 7 digits in it and, just think, we could use that to pay the electric bill at the new convention center.

By: BenDover on 10/8/12 at 3:59

I think it's one of the few things that attracts people to the Council posts. That's all moot now though now that we have Obamacare.

By: govskeptic on 10/8/12 at 4:37

Not moot yet nor anytime soon, Ben. Metro Employees will, as long as possible,
be covered by Private Insurance plans which these folks will attempt to ride
on. More comments under original story. It's an outrageous benefit for only
serving one term and small portion of a second.

By: bfra on 10/8/12 at 4:42

Maybe all those gung ho Karl Deaners will chip in and keep that MCC White Elephant out of the hole! As to the council, the insurance deal should never have been, in the first place. If you remember, the last time they wanted a raise, they voted to "double" their own salary. What other job offers that "free reigh"?

By: Loner on 10/8/12 at 4:57

Good morning, Nashville.

Life-long health care benefits for former council members...(and their spouses and families?) sounds like a bad idea....it could be very expensive in the long run....a situation ripe for corruption.

I just do not like the idea of a professional politician....adding a generous, life-long, health-care package to the Metro benefits package encourages the non-productive parasites to remain in office.

Metro members should be selflessly serving the pubic, not feathering their own nests.

By: Loner on 10/8/12 at 5:03

Of course, details of the plan and the proposal are sketchy.....if the former council members are paying their own premiums, without taxpayer help, then I'm not so opposed to the idea....what I oppose is a free ride for life, in exchange for spending a few years on the council.

By: Loner on 10/8/12 at 5:16

I went to the main story...more details surfaced there. Here is a quote: ". According to Metro’s Human Resources Department, 24 current council members, and 33 former council members in the Metro health insurance system. The total cost for current and former members is approximately $550,000 annually." (end quote)

I did the math, it costs over a half million dollars to insure those 57 people....that's $9,649/year per person covered....sounds pretty expensive to me.

By: yogiman on 10/8/12 at 5:48

No position that is earned by being voted in office on a temporary basis justifies benefits. They are simple terms in office, not permanent employees working 40 hours per week.

Our national Congress is a simple national position instead of a local position and should be considered in the same term category.

As a private business employee, wouldn't it be nice to set your own salary and benefits?

By: gdiafante on 10/8/12 at 5:50

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By: Loner on 10/8/12 at 5:57

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By: yogiman on 10/8/12 at 6:11

I don't know if they have any benefits now, but when I was serving on our old County Quarterly Court we was paid only for a meeting and much less for a committee meeting. And if we didn't complete our committee meeting at our first setting, we didn't get paid to come back to finish it.

Public service should be considered an honor, not a benefit.

By: gdiafante on 10/8/12 at 6:17

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By: yogiman on 10/8/12 at 6:23

You know, fellows, I thought you were all grown men... and women, but I guess I was wrong. You are showing you juvenile mentality more every day for the sole reason that I don't agree with you.

That, children (as you are mentally), shows, and proves, your juvenile mentality; because I refuse to accept "your man" as my President and question his legality of being in office.

Maybe you should take a temporary new civics class. I've offered you proof from his autobiography but you haven't offered me any justifiable repudiation. Why not, don't you have any?

By: gdiafante on 10/8/12 at 6:31

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By: Loner on 10/8/12 at 6:33

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By: yogiman on 10/8/12 at 6:34

Well, kids, we only have 30 days to see if we remain the USA, or become the USSA. Which "leader" you pick, a legally qualified President, or a communist dictator as your "leader"?

I honestly can't say I feel sorry for any of you, but I do honestly feel sorry for your children, grandchildren and future heirs

But then, I believe we will have a rebellion to stop Barry's takeover.

By: gdiafante on 10/8/12 at 6:35

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By: bfra on 10/8/12 at 6:38

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By: Loner on 10/8/12 at 6:41

Back to the topic: right now, there are more ex-council-members on the Insurance plan than sitting members.

The number of "formers" will grow, the number of "sitting" members will remain the same.

A fixed number of productive beneficiaries and an ever-growing number on non-productive beneficiaries is a recipe for financial disaster.

Of course, whoever is selling this expensive insurance to Metro would probably not agree with my bleak assessment. Follow the money...you will find the rat in the woodpile.

By: bfra on 10/8/12 at 6:53

Loner - The insurance agent is probably one of Karl's cronies!

By: gdiafante on 10/8/12 at 6:56

Is this a new policy, bfra, or something that has been in effect for years?

By: Captain Nemo on 10/8/12 at 7:06

If a city councilperson on work 40 hrs a week on council business their pay would be less than minimum wage. Now some of them work longer hours and some do less. I think as long as they are in office they should receive this benefit from the public, but once out of office it should stop.

BTW (click)

By: Captain Nemo on 10/8/12 at 7:07

shb only and not on

By: Blanketnazi2 on 10/8/12 at 7:13

I agree. I never did understand why their benefits would continue after they served one term.

By: Loner on 10/8/12 at 7:16

Off Topic: They're giving the lone one holy hell here:

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4289366,00.html

In response, I submitted a post titled: "To my critics" ...to answer my detractors, but so far, my rebuttal has not been posted...that's normal on an Israeli site...they are highly censored....not allowing posters who are attacked to respond to critics is a hallmark of their sites....after all, Israel is a police state, with a highly controlled media.

By: Loner on 10/8/12 at 7:23

Right now, Metro is shelling out over a half-million annually in health insurance premiums, tp cover 24 council members and 33 former members...unless corrective action is taken, that 500K number will grow.

Bfra, I would not doubt that what you suggest is true....somebody is getting a hefty commission on that cash outlay....thousands annually, no doubt....the NCP should dig into that, IMO....sounds like a sweetheart deal.

By: yogiman on 10/8/12 at 7:23

If they're going to get a life long benefit after only serving one term, why should anyone care to serve more than one term?

Most political offices are 4 year terms, so why can't a "group" get together and plan for each to serve one term, thus they all get on the "benefit" program? And, of course, the elder serves first.

By: gdiafante on 10/8/12 at 7:27

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By: Captain Nemo on 10/8/12 at 7:31

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By: Blanketnazi2 on 10/8/12 at 7:32

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By: BenDover on 10/8/12 at 7:43

Loner your 7:41a post only differs in degree and time of service from all public employees not just council members.

By: BenDover on 10/8/12 at 7:46

Teachers can retire with healthcare benefits equal to current employees at age 55 with at least 10 years of service.

Police and fire requirements are less than that.

By: Rasputin72 on 10/8/12 at 7:48

LONER........I personally think the Israelis run one of the best police states in the world.

I can certainly understand why they would have a "rule of order" in their media culture. Without that "rule" you would get a lot of "nutjobs" posting on that site.

It would not surprise me to discover that you have been shut out of a number of forum sites. I base this strictly on the premise that no one in a rational state of mind having no connection to Nashville would be so prolific on this NCP site

By: Blanketnazi2 on 10/8/12 at 7:49

Good morning, Junior!

By: BenDover on 10/8/12 at 7:50

Sadly though all that hard work in earning these benefits will be for naught when Obamacare, as designed, destroys the private insurance market and takes us down the pit of single payer. I suspect public sector employee insurance will be the last standing though because they will howl the loudest.

By: budlight on 10/8/12 at 7:51

For those of you who are on Medicare, read the following. It's short but
important, and you probably haven't heard about it in the Mainstream News.
"The per person Medicare Insurance Premium will increase from the present
Monthly Fee of $96.40,
rising to: $104.20 in 2012
$120.20 in 2013
And
$247.00 in 2014."
These are Provisions incorporated in the Obamacare Legislation, purposely delayed so as not to confuse the 2012 Re-Election Campaigns.

By: Loner on 10/8/12 at 7:51

Ben, I see your point.

I must point to a local example of how a non-union, private sector, manufacturing giant went belly up....largely for these same reasons...the retirees eventually outnumbered those still working...and the retirees had golden parachutes....you cannot blame government or organized labor for the calamitous fall of KODAK, in Rochester NY.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 10/8/12 at 7:52

"The pit of single payer?" OK, surely you jest. I've worked in healthcare for years and single payer is the thing that will solve a lot of the problems.

By: gdiafante on 10/8/12 at 7:53

Obamacare props up the private insurance market, Ben. This isn't a governmental takeover of health care, it's a policy that promotes the purchase of private insurance. We're so far from a single payer system it's funny.

You're such a drama queen.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 10/8/12 at 7:55

http://www.snopes.com/politics/medical/medicare.asp

Ah, another sucker who believes the conspiracy crap. Actually, the rates in 2013 go to $109.10 and in 2014 go to $112.10. Heaven forbid someone do their research.

By: gdiafante on 10/8/12 at 7:56

I agree, blanket, that it would solve a lot of the problems. But we're not close to that, and neither is Obamacare. People who believe we are (cough...Ben), are living in a bubble.

Maybe if there had been a public option...but there wasn't.

By: bfra on 10/8/12 at 7:58

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gdiafante - I don't know exactly how long this has been in effect without research, but for some time now. This is just 1 of the perks, the council voted in for themselves, it was not done by the taxpayers that foot the bill.

By: Captain Nemo on 10/8/12 at 8:05

They say that the people on Medicare is(sic)going to pay more for premium because of that man in the White House. This is true because I heard it somewhere on the internet.

B. Itch.

By: gdiafante on 10/8/12 at 8:06

I wish I had a job where I could vote myself perks...and pay raises...must be nice.

By: yogiman on 10/8/12 at 8:10

No perk has ever been voted in by the tax payers footing the bill, bfra. They aren't the givers as the receivers are the takers, and the receivers always take for themselves.

By: gdiafante on 10/8/12 at 8:11

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By: Captain Nemo on 10/8/12 at 8:11

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By: bfra on 10/8/12 at 8:12

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By: slacker on 10/8/12 at 8:13

gdiafante.. sounds like you have the potential to become a Metro. councilperson. Can you fake sincerity?

By: BenDover on 10/8/12 at 8:13

You know exactly what eliminating the preexisting condition will do to private insurance Blanket. At that point it's not insurance anymore. Additional costs will be passed on to the customers.

Employers seeing the insurance costs rise will opt. for the government penalty.

Then it becomes another tax to support their ultimate goal of single payer.

Obamacare is designed to collapse into single payer.