If you are in Congress today, watching the floor debate on C-Span or otherwise following the debate over the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (PPACA) in the House of Representatives, you know that the members of the new Republican majority really want to get rid of the health reform bill signed into law last year. You also know the are really against government-sponsored health care.
Except, of course, for them. No matter what happens today, those crafty guys are keeping their own benefits, you can be sure.
With the Republican legislative agenda increasingly focused on repealing health care reform, many observers are beginning to question whether GOPers in Congress will personally abide by their beliefs and take the next step of forgoing government-sponsored health insurance for themselves.
So far, according to ThinkProgress, only seven GOP congressman, or three percent of all 242 House Republicans, have opted out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan. In other words, 235 GOP congressmen will vote to repeal the health reform bill that insures coverage for millions of Americans currently uninsured, under-insured, or struggling with premium payments, but will go home at the end of the day safe in the knowledge that they will still receive all of the same health benefits and then some that they voted to take away from you. And they are fully covered by the good ol' government against which they spend most of their working days railing.
During the Congressional orientation last fall, one Republican loudly complained about having his own government-sponsored health insurance delayed approximately four weeks. But, notes Keyes, most GOPers have quietly continued to accept government-sponsored health care while loudly decrying the government’s role in helping provide health care to a segment of the American public.
ThinkProgress interviewed a few of these Congresspersons to ask them whether they plan to continue receiving those dreaded federal government health benefits, and why.
Their reasons for continuing to take government-subsidized health insurance ran the gamut, writes Keyes, "from Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL), whose justification was that he was “actually lowering” premiums for older members of Congress [I really like that one], to Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who admitted that accepting government-sponsored health care “could be” hypocritical, but shrugged it off nonetheless." At least he admitted it.
ThinkProgress compiled a video of other Republican congressmen explaining why they want to repeal health care reform for the nation but plan to keep government-subsidized health care for themselves. Watch it:
On average, writes Keyes:
congressmen receive $700 per month in taxpayer subsidies to help pay for their health insurance. Members use these subsidies to choose a health insurance plan available through a government-sponsored exchange which, among other regulations, bars discrimination based on preexisting conditions.
As Lee Fang of ThinkProgress notes, “The federal system mirrors the reforms enacted by Democrats and President Obama, which end health insurance abuses by regulating coverage through an exchange, while offering subsidies to individuals and small businesses to make coverage more affordable.”