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State Government News

GOP Lawmaker Calls Reporting on Legislators’ Health Insurance Premiums 'Fake News'

Joyce Russell/IPR
Rep. Guy Vander Linden (R-Oskaloosa)
To blame House Republicans...seems....disingenuous. -Rep. Guy Vander Linden

Some state lawmakers will pay more for their health insurance under a bill  approved unanimously in the Iowa House today, after an earlier unanimous vote in  the Senate.  

Some legislators have been paying the union employee rate of $20 a month. 

Under the bill, they will pay 20 percent of the premium cost just as non-contract executive branch employees do.    

For some,  the increase will be as much as $300 per month for state-sponsored health insurance.  

The issue came to the attention of the legislature through a Des Moines Register investigation.

Rep. Guy Vander Linden (R-Oskaloosa) claimed the reporting was not fair.

“Due to the fact that an intrepid reporter from one of our major newspapers has come out with a piece of fake news, I feel compelled to answer it,” Vander Linden said. “He says Iowa lawmakers have been fast-tracking this bill, but it has stalled in the House." 

“It has not stalled in the House,” Vander Linden added. “We're about to pass it.” 

Since 2009, House Republicans have repeatedly passed legislation to require legislators and other state employees to pay more for their health insurance.   

"House Republicans have passed legislation to take care of this issue numerous times since 2011, and it dies in the Democratic-controlled Senate,” Vander Linden said.  “So to blame House Republicans for this delay seems to me to be disingenuous.” 

According to the Register, some lawmakers have reimbursed the state for paying the lower rate for  insurance since 2013.

The Register continues to investigate how the Department of Administrative Services communicated with legislators about the available health plans.  

When legislators begin paying 20 percent of the premium for health insurance next year, the savings to the state treasury will exceed a quarter of a million dollars, according to the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency. Savings will approach half a million dollars the year after that.