State senator delays resignation to hang on to health benefits - WFSB 3 Connecticut

State senator delays resignation to hang on to health benefits

State Sen. Rich Crandall (R - Mesa) State Sen. Rich Crandall (R - Mesa)

State Sen. Rich Crandall (R -Mesa) just started a new job as director of education in Wyoming, but he's delaying his resignation at the Arizona Legislature to maintain health insurance coverage for his family until health benefits at his new job kick in next month.

Sam Wercinski is executive director of the Arizona Advocacy Network.

He told CBS5 News that this is a clear case of an elected official taking advantage of the system.

"It's another example of politicians rigging the system to their own benefit and the taxpayers and working families are paying for it," said Wercinski. "Mr. Crandall should have been required to do what any other employee would do, that is leaving their job, purchase COBRA insurance."

But Crandall doesn't see it that way.

He told CBS5 News by phone Friday that he is still making trips to Arizona, working for the people in his Mesa district.

Crandall said it was a little bit of shock to learn that the moment he resigns he will lose all his state health benefits, so he made the decision to delay stepping down to keep health coverage in place for his two children, until the new policy at his new job starts up.

"When it comes to your kids health, you just don't play around," said Crandall, "This is a great example of why we need some kind of healthcare reform."

According to Crandall, one of his daughters had open heart surgery a few years back and any break in coverage could put her ability to get health benefits at risk.

Critics insist, if Crandall wasn't an elected official he could get emergency COBRA coverage through the state, to bridge the gap.

"It would have cost him and his family several thousand dollars a month," said Wercinski. "But working families in Arizona are required to do that. Our politicians should be required to do that."

A spokesperson for the Secretary of State's office said that Crandall is not violating any Arizona laws by pushing back his resignation date.

Crandall plans to officially resign Aug. 31.

The state legislature is currently not in session.

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