With the new U.S Congress looking for ways to cut the deficit, we should demand that they eliminate their own health insurance from their benefits. If Republicans are so hell-bent on repealing the new health care law, they can give up their own health insurance. After all, they are essentially independent contractors, hired on for a two- or six-year stint, and most of them are rich enough to pay for their own insurance. Why should the taxpayer pay? And why do we pay for premium lifetime health benefits after they've served only 5 years?
Some members may have trouble getting a policy because of pre-existing conditions like chronically enlarged egos, convenient memory loss and wagging tongue syndrome. Sen. Mitch McConnell has recycled arteries after he got federally-paid-for, triple bypass surgery in 2003. New Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland, a wealthy physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital, had a hissy fit when he learned that his government health policy wouldn't start until February 1 — forcing him to go a whole month without taxpayer subsidized insurance! Unfortunately, there is no cure for chronic hypocrisy.
Maybe Congressional staff should have to pay for insurance also. Let their bosses go out and find a small group policy. If just one of the brightest, hardworking staff has a pre-existing condition, it would raise the rates for the rest of his staff so much that this ideal employee could not be hired. This very situation happened in 2010 to a friend of mine who owns a 100-person business in Dallas.
This current debate is not about coming up with better health legislation — it's about defeating President Obama in 2012. He and the last Congress had the foresight, brilliance and determination to make consumer-oriented changes to a health care system controlled by a few large, tyrannical health insurers. The health care sector has spent $1.7 billion lobbying Congress since 2006. Let's ask the health insurers to take the millions they pour into campaign coffers and, instead, provide free health insurance for this new Congress. With the average family policy costing $13,750, we could cut the deficit by $330 million this year alone and still keep the insurers in most of the back pockets of Congress.
Thomas Stiltz, Baltimore