A select few pro-repeal lawmakers have refused to accept government health benefits for themselves to try to stay consistent in their opposition to government health care. Out of the few who have eschewed government health plans for themselves, many are either on government benefit plans from their service in state government or the military. Others are independently wealthy, like Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), who owns a large car dealership or Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), an investment banker.
In a recent interview with the Ocala Star-Banner, Rep. Webster explained his decision to turn down federal coverage:
“I didn’t come here to get health insurance. I came here to make a difference,” Webster said in a recent interview.
Rep. Nugent also explained his rationale and added that he’ll be drafting legislation aimed at relieving taxpayers of having to fund similar benefits afforded to members of Congress, which will focus on eliminating requirements that elected representatives to participate in the congressional pension plan and taxpayer-funded matches to Congress’ 401(k)-style deferred compensation plan:
“I want to remain with [my decision], because I think it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “Because I think that when you have Americans that are struggling, why should I — why should I — get a cost savings because I just got elected to the United States House of Representatives? That’s the reality.”
In the months leading up to the health care overhaul in 2010, the Los Angeles Times emphasized the disconnect between the coverage afforded to federal employees and the cost of an average family’s health insurance policy, which a 2009 Keiser Family Foundation and Health Research & Educational Trust survey put at $13, 375 — more than double the cost in 2000:
Given their choices, lawmakers can tailor coverage in a way most Americans cannot. If a child has asthma, for instance, a federal employee might opt for coverage that costs a little more but has a bigger doctor network and lower office-visit fees.
Despite the legal wrangling and appeals processes that are likely to wage on for months if not years, some leaders are taking the issue of providing affordable health insurance into their own hands.
The current system in America is unaffordable. I think Democrats and Republicans can agree on that. If we stay on the current course, we will be spending the lion’s share of our income on healthcare. It will bankrupt our businesses. It puts us at a competitive disadvantage with all of the other countries who have figured this out.