Free-market medicine: New bill would withhold Congressional health benefits

With GOP lawmakers blasting the Democrats’ health care reform bills as a giant step toward socialized medicine, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) will soon let them put their money where their mouths are. The Oregon liberal announced today that he’ll introduce legislation prohibiting all members of Congress from receiving government-sponsored health coverage until health reform, providing coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans, becomes law.

“It has become clear,” Blumenauer wrote in a letter to his fellow lawmakers, “that some of our colleagues lack proper perspective on the urgency of health reform because, ironically, as members of Congress we enjoy some of the best health security in the world through our government-administered health care.”

Earl Blumenauer

Earl Blumenauer

What government-administered health care? Well, all members of Congress are eligible for the taxpayer-subsidized Federal Employee Health Benefits Program. On top of that, Blumenauer points out, 150 lawmakers are eligible for single-payer Medicare, while another 121 are armed-forces veterans eligible for Tricare, another government-backed health care program.

“These government-run health programs have successfully provided countless Senators and Representatives with life-saving medical treatments, but as we all know, most Americans don’t have this kind of protection.”

“Until health reform is enacted,” Blumenauer added, “Members of Congress should get to experience the tender mercies of our fragmented, complex and exploitative health care system.”

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Mike Lillis

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