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Letter: Singled out over county benefit

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy. Credit: Ed Betz

The article "Levy to reap premium-free insurance" [News, Aug. 25] noted that upon my recent birthday I entered the Suffolk County retirement plan that provides free health insurance for all enrollees.

Newsday singled me out because I had called the present system unsustainable. While the article mentioned that I tried to require reasonable contributions from all, it didn't say that I voluntarily gave back $86,000 of my salary as Suffolk County executive from 2004 to 2011 -- probably more than any official in county history -- to lead by example. That amounted to 40 years of health care contributions.

It's ironic that an advocate of reform suggesting a reasonable contribution by every enrollee is singled out, while those who voted to maintain the unsustainable status quo aren't mentioned at all.

Hopefully, officials and enrollees will heed my advice that a small contribution today will not only avoid the oncoming taxpayer backlash, but also help to ensure that these benefits are here for them decades down the road. Greece and the city of Detroit are discovering what government bankruptcies do to both the taxpayers and those who thought they were in secure retirement systems.

Steve Levy, Bayport