Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New GOP Congressman: Government Healthcare - Good For Me, But Not For Thee.

Check this out:

Republican Andy Harris, an anesthesiologist who defeated freshman Democrat Frank Kratovil on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, reacted incredulously when informed that federal law mandated that his government-subsidized health care policy would take effect on Feb. 1 – 28 days after his Jan. 3rd swearing-in.

“He stood up and asked the two ladies who were answering questions why it had to take so long, what he would do without 28 days of health care,” said a congressional staffer who saw the exchange. The benefits session, held behind closed doors, drew about 250 freshman members, staffers and family members to the Capitol Visitors Center auditorium late Monday morning,”.

“Harris then asked if he could purchase insurance from the government to cover the gap,” added the aide, who was struck by the similarity to Harris’s request and the public option he denounced as a gateway to socialized medicine.

Harris, a Maryland state senator who works at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and several hospitals on the Eastern Shore, also told the audience, “This is the only employer I’ve ever worked for where you don’t get coverage the first day you are employed,” his spokeswoman Anna Nix told POLITICO.
I can point to plenty of employers who don't even offer coverage at all, much less the first day of employment. I've worked for a number of them in my life. If he's never worked for an employer that didn't offer health insurance, he hasn't had the typical American worker's experience with small business employment, with low wage jobs, or with independent contract work. Talk about your typical out-of-touch privileged rich guy. And here he is, coming to Washington, and feeling entitled to his taxpayer funded "public" health care option. What a tool.


eric said...

I guess I don't see the issue here. Congressmen have a healthcare benefit as part of their employment package. He's complaining about one aspect of the way it works, and asking if it would be possible to fix that by paying for it out of his salary.

While I admire politicians who refuse to take part in government healthcare and pension programs (R.J. Harris, who I supported in the GOP Congressional Primary for my district, had vowed to forego these perks... but he lost), I don't think they have an ethical obligation to do so, anymore than private-sector employees are obliged to forego employer provided insurance to secure their own.

As far as his job history goes, given that he's actually had first hand experience working in the medical field, which is more than you can say for the overwhelming majority of hte people who wrote the Healthcare Bill, I'll forgive his apparent lack of experience with shitty jobs, not that it really comnmands any forgiveness.

eric said...

Also, regarding government provided healthcare, I have no doubts that it could be a wonderful program if administered to the privelaged few, however unfair that may be for those outside of the sytem.

It's only when you try to apply it to every citizen in the whole country that I become skeptical of the ability of the system to provite quality healthcare.

Huck said...

and asking if it would be possible to fix that by paying for it out of his salary.

Well, the irony is that he presumably knew the answer -- that it wasn't possible -- but completely ignored the reason why it wasn't: because folks like him, anti-public option conservative legislators in Congress, did not want it to be possible. It would be like voting to make sure the Post Office doesn't offer Sunday mail delivery out of budgetary concern and then complaining about not getting mail on Sunday.

As far as his job history goes, my point was simply to expose a reality about the crisis of coverage in our health care system due to costs that this guy seems completely inured to. He might never have had a shitty job that doesn't offer a health insurance benefit on day one of employment; but then what does that say about his ability to connect with the tens of millions of "real" Americans who do have to live with such jobs. (Aside: I also find it interesting that you seem to be defining the shittiness of a job on the basis of whether it offers a health insurance benefit.)