According to a post at Politico, two newly-elected Republican House members “say they won’t accept the Congressional health care programs.”
Earlier, Democrats issued what amounted to a “double-dog” dare, challenging the Tea-Party backed victors to refuse the government plan they campaigned against.
According to a CBS report:
A group of House Democrats has released a letter to Republican congressional leaders calling on them to announce which of their members will be forgoing their congressional benefit health insurance (which is subsidized by the government) in light of their party’s opposition to health care reform overhaul legislation.
“If your conference wants to deny millions of Americans affordable health care, your members should walk that walk,” four Democrats write in the letter, which is addressed to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and House Republican leader John Boehner. “You cannot enroll in the very kind of coverage that you want for yourselves, and then turn around and deny it to Americans who don’t happen to be Members of Congress.”
According to the letter, the federal government pays more than $10,000 of the premiums of each member of Congress who has a family policy under the most selected plan
Two members – Bobby Schilling (R-IL) and Mike Kelly (R-PA) – have announced they would not accept the federal program.
Both members said they would be bringing their own plan with them to Washington, saying they should have nothing better than average Americans who do not serve in Congress.
Many newly-elected Republicans campaigned against the federal health care plan known as Obamacare.
An online Politico debate, entitled, “Dude, where’s my Health Care?” asks the question, “should current and incoming members of Congress who opposed the health care reform bill turn down their government-provided health care?”
The answers are predictably partisan, but one online political strategist, Soren Dayton, noted, “the framing of the question is demagoguery.” He went on to write:
We have a system that incentivizes employer-based health care. This is a structural flaw in our health care system that President Obama and congressional Democrats have dishonestly defended in the 2008 campaign and in the health care debate.
Federal employees have private insurance facilitated and subsidized by their employer, like everyone else who receives employer-provided health care. Members of Congress get access to that insurance.
That is simply not comparable to health care reform and it is somewhere between dishonest and ignorant to conflate them.
Unfortunately, much of the debate over the Health Care Law has been full of dishonesty.
Hopefully, the newly-elected Congress can fix the mess left behind by the Democrats.
In the meantime, freshman Republicans should learn that Democrats who issue challenges and dares usually have a trap laid somewhere, and they should tread with extreme caution.