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Pain in the Buttigieg: Mayor Pete Stiffs Staffers on Health Insurance

Good ol’ Pete Buttigieg. Remember him? He was the Democrats’ flavor of the month until Joe Biden jumped in. Now he’s making headlines for less than savory reasons, and it doesn’t have anything to do with his weird obsession with Mike Pence.

Nowadays, Mayor Pete – as his fans and those who can’t pronounce his last name like to call him – is in the news because he’s the only Democratic presidential candidate who hasn’t provided health care for his staff.

The rest of the Democratic field pays for insurance for their staff members – heck, the Bernie Sanders campaign staff has even unionized! Obamacare laws require businesses of 50 employees or more to provide health insurance for employees.

Traditionally, political campaigns have gotten around health care regulations by declaring staff members as independent contractors rather than employees. Most of Buttigieg’s staff are employees, though they have hired some consultants as well.

The Buttigieg campaign has 49 staff members, according to NBC News, so Buttigieg pays his staffers a $400 monthly stipend with which they can purchase health insurance on the Obamacare marketplace. Thanks to the rising prices of Obamacare, that’s not terribly generous, since it will only cover a silver plan for a single individual.

In a way, Mayor Pete putting his money where his (and a ton of other Democrats’) mouth is when it comes to health care. Like so many others in his party, Buttigieg calls for a single-payer health system. He likes to say that his campaign team lives up to the values that he advocates, so leaving his staffers to the wolves of Obamacare seems apropos. Interestingly, he’s planning on paying interns a $15/hour minimum wage, which is another nod to a pet issue of the left.

Naturally, if Buttigieg grows his staff any more, he’ll have to provide coverage for them, but in the meantime, does leaving his team to navigate the waters of Obamacare smack of stinginess, or is it a shining example of Democratic Party values? It could be a bit of both.

Hat tip to my colleague Marc Giller for the snappy headline.

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