Last month, responding to Rep.-elect Andy Harris’ (R-MD) hypocritical demand for government-sponsored benefits, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) began circulating a letter among his Democratic colleagues calling on Harris and other members of Congress who want to repeal the new health care law to forego their own government health care plans. Two incoming Republican freshmen — Rep.-elect Mike Kelly (PA) and Rep.-elect Bobby Schilling (IL) — agreed to the deal immediately and now two others, Reps. Tim Walberg (MI) and Bill Johnson (OH) have also pledged to opt out of the federal employees’ health program:
— TIM WALBERG (R-MI): “Walberg didn’t take the federal plan during his first term in Congress, either. Walberg receives free health-care stemming from his 16-years in the state legislature.”
— BILL JOHNSON (R-OH): “This is one substantial way I can show that my commitment to the people of eastern and southern Ohio is to help them, not to gain exclusive benefits for myself,” he said, in a news release issued by his office. Johnson is not be going to be without health insurance coverage, however. He has health insurance available to him as a retired U.S. Air Force officer.
In reality, these two congressmen are still receiving health benefits from the government. Walberg is drawing on state benefits, while Johnson will be dependent on the military system, which is funded with federal taxes. Kelly and Schilling, meanwhile, will receive employer-sponsored coverage through their businesses. Meanwhile, the Wonk Room argues that if Republicans were really serious about “listening to the people who sent us here” — as they argued after the midterm elections — they would all opt out of their government-sponsored insurance plans.