OUR OPINION: State board makes right call on Senate proposal

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 17, 2007

A state insurance board turned down the Alabama Senate&8217;s bid for state-funded health insurance yesterday, the Associated Press announced.

In the closing hours of its last session on June 7, the Senate passed a resolution by an unrecorded voice vote to seek coverage through an insurance program operated by the State Employees Insurance Board.

Finance Director Jim Main, a member of Gov. Bob Riley&8217;s Cabinet, urged the board to reject the resolution, and the board did so without opposition.

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Board members said they need a resolution passed by both houses of the Legislature for the application for insurance to be official.

Sen. E.B. McClain, D-Midfield, said other Southern states provide publicly funded health insurance for their legislators and Alabama should do the same.

The question here is not one of importance. It is a question of ethics. Our Senate wasted no time voting itself a hefty raise and passing the aforementioned resolution, while allowing more important bills to die in the basket.

Aside from the fact that over 30 part-time legislators have health insurance through the public schools or colleges they or their spouses work for, they can already get state funded insurance &8212; provided that they pay the full $640 per month.