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Local News

Lipinski's bill to help first responders with health care costs

U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski
U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski

U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski introduced legislation last week to help public safety employees with the health care costs they face in retirement.

Lipinski's bill, H.R. 4897, would double the amount of money retired public service employees are allowed to allocate from their pensions toward health or long-term care insurance premiums on an annual pre-tax basis, from $3,000 to $6,000, according to a news release.

"I'm proud to co-sponsor this legislation to recognize the service of all who have worked to keep us safe in communities across the nation," Lipinski said. "This is an important benefit for these retirees, many of whom face a financial penalty due to a shorter career resulting from mandatory early retirement. I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this legislation passed."

In 2006, Congress enacted and the president signed into law the Pension Protection Act, which included a provision for local public safety officers — allowing firefighters, law enforcement and emergency responders to allocate up to $3,000 annually for their pensions toward health care.

That initial amount has remained flat since the law was first enacted. Lipinski argued the value of the benefit has eroded, as health care costs have continued to grow faster than inflation, according to the release.

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