Earlier this week, Rep.-elect Andy Harris (R-MD), who ran on a platform of repealing the recently-passed health care law, ironically demanded access to his taxpayer-subsidized congressional health care plan upon arriving in Washington. Yesterday, 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. In a letter to House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Crowley writes, “If your conference wants to deny millions of Americans affordable health care, your members should walk that walk”:
“If your conference wants to deny millions of Americans affordable health care, your members should walk that walk,” Crowley writes in a letter to House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
“You cannot enroll in the very kind of coverage that you want for yourselves, and then turn around and deny it to Americans who don’t happen to be Members of Congress. We also want to note that in 2011, the Federal government will pay $10,503.48 of the premiums for each member of Congress with a family policy under the commonly selected Blue Cross standard plan.”
Conservative members of Congress receiving taxpayer-subsidized health care benefits while opposing the same benefits for the general public is nothing new. During the height of the health care debate, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) identified 55 Republicans who were enrolled in Medicare, the country’s single-payer universal health care system for the elderly. Not one of those Republicans supported offering such a plan to everyday Americans.
Yet at least one Republican has taken up Crowley’s challenge. Rep.-elect Bobby Shilling (R-IL) told ABC’s Top Line today that he will not be taking part in the congressional health care plan, nor will he take part in many other benefits members of Congress receive, like the congressional pension plan. “Congress shouldn’t have anything better than the American people,” he said. Watch it: