Over the past few months, congressional Republicans have endured much criticism for privately accepting government-sponsored health insurance as they publicly railed against health care reform. First, Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) unleashed an infamous tirade at a House Republican retreat and demanded to know why his government-run health plan would be delayed for 28 days after his swearing-in. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) responded by demanding that any member of Congress who voted to repeal health care reform also forgo government-sponsored health care for himself. However, of the 242 congressional GOPers who voted for repeal, just 14 have agreed to reject government health insurance.
When asked why they will continue to accept government-managed and subsidized health care while voting to strip such funding for regular citizens, Republicans in Congress have used any number of excuses. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) explained to ThinkProgress that he was only on the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program because he was “actually lowering” premiums for older members of Congress. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) told the New York Daily News (without a hint of irony), “What am I, not supposed to have health care?[…] God forbid I get into an accident and I can’t afford the operation. That can happen to anyone.” Most recently, Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY) was surprised to learn that her health insurance plan was subsidized by the government, but has no plans to turn it down regardless.
However, none of these excuses can compare to the one given by Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL). ThinkProgress recently spoke with Posey, who gained notoriety in 2009 for sponsoring the original “birther bill” in Congress. We asked the congressmen if he plans to turn down government-subsidized health insurance for himself in light of his push to repeal health care reform. His response: “I don’t know. Am I a federal employee?” Watch it:
ThinkProgress followed up with Rep. Posey’s press secretary George Cecala. Mr. Cecala confirmed for us that Congressman Posey is, indeed, a federal employee. In addition, despite Posey’s attempts to evade the question, Mr. Cecala told us that the Florida Republican does accept government-subsidized and managed health care and has done so for his entire congressional career. When asked how the congressman would respond to the hypocrisy angle, Mr. Cecala told us “you can’t just single out members of Congress and then just ignore other federal employees who receive the same benefits.”