Salt Lake County councilwoman’s Jenny Wilson’s proposal to extend healthcare benefits to the financially dependent domestic partners, live-in family and friends of county employees never received a hearing at the Council’s April 29 meeting.
Instead, Republican councilmembers introduced their own proposal: a measure that would grant unmarried financial dependents access to the insurance if they pay for it out of pocket, instead of having the government cover the costs.
While Republican councilman told the Salt Lake Tribune that the new proposal “allow[ed] for tolerance and diversity” while maintaining “a recognition of our core values,” council Democrats called it an attempt to get around the issue equality for non-married employees.
“It is access in name only,” said Democratic Councilman Joe Hatch. “It is not access in reality.”
Wilson told the council that she doesn’t think employees will be able to afford the premiums, which Republican Councilman Mark Crockett estimated would fall between $297 to $447 a month, versus the $69 to $104 employees would have paid to add an adult designee under Wilson's proposal.
Wilson has fought to get this proposal – inspired by Salt Lake City’s adult designee insurance plan – passed since her first term in 2005.
The council voted 5-4 along party lines to commission a financial analysis of the Republican plan.