You’ve just gotta read this one…

Here’s Slate’s summary of a piece on Politico:

New GOP Legislator Incensed by Delay of His Government Health Care Coverage

A newly elected Maryland congressman startled other frosh at a congressional info session on Monday by growing indignant over the fact that his government-funded health care wouldn’t be active immediately, reports Politico. Republican Rep. Andy Harris, who triumphed over Democrat Frank Kratovil in his congressional race with promises to vanquish Obamacare, couldn’t believe that his policy would take a month to become active after his swearing in on Jan. 3. “He stood up and asked the two ladies who were answering questions why it had to take so long, what he would do without 28 days of health care,” said a congressional staffer present at the benefits information session attended by 250 freshman, staff, and family members. “Harris then asked if he could purchase insurance from the government to cover the gap,” said the staffer. Harris, a doctor turned legislator who works at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, also told the audience: “This is the only employer I’ve ever worked for where you don’t get coverage the first day you are employed.” During his congressional campaign, Harris vowed to “fight to repeal health-care reform.” His spokeswoman said his statements at the meeting were merely intended to highlight the ineptitude of government health coverage.

For the rest of the story, here’s the link.

I hardly know what to say, beyond the obvious — if Congress would simply let us all buy into its health plan, I’d be happy. Wouldn’t you? If only Obamacare did that much, it would be a wonderful thing.

20 thoughts on “You’ve just gotta read this one…

  1. Mark Stewart

    I would even be willing to buy into the Congressional health care plan at the Representative’s cost.

    The new Representative’s clear lack of understanding about what it’s like to be on one’s own for one’s own health insurance (and for one’s family) is pretty typical of a huge swath of America. The half with subsidized coverage – from governmental and corporate workplaces – do not have a clue what the self-employed and the entreprenuerial-minded face. They seem to think it’s just the poor that they’re trashing with their ignorance of the status quo. I won’t even get into opposition to the “new” healthcare paradigm – which did next to nothing for the group of people who create job growth.

  2. Shannon aka Scout

    Exactly Mark. I think many people who want healthcare repeal take health coverage for granted and have no concept of the reality many Americans face. Basically they are just plain selfish, often, in my opinion.

  3. Brad

    Yep. I’d stand on my head for 28 days if at the end of it I knew I’d get the congressional deal. It is SO much better than anything currently available to me…

  4. Doug Ross

    So why didn’t the Democratic controlled Congress do just that?

    Because just like the Republicans, they are phony hypocrites who are beholden to the lobbyists.

    Term limits.

  5. Joanne

    Agree, Brad.

    Hey, Mr. Harris, welcome to “real America.” My daughter has no health insurance. We pray for good health.

  6. Norm Ivey

    I’m always struck at this time of year by how much some policy makers remind me of Ebeneezer Scrooge.

    “Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge.
    “Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.
    “And the Union workhouses?” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”
    “They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, “I wish I could say they were not.”
    “I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned — they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.”
    “Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”
    “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

    There’s the rant against taxes, the I-got-mine attitude, the implication that the out-of-work are idle. Where’s the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come when you need him?

    I believe one of the provisions of Obamacare (I think the name will stick and eventually take on a positive connotation), is that members of Congress will eventually be required to purchase their own insurance through the plans offered by their home state’s insurance exchange. I hope Mr. Harris will be able to find a plan that suits his needs.

  7. Steve Gordy

    This story is so funny it almost defies comment. Of course, the fellow is a doctor; now he understands what a lot of his patients have to go through. Somewhere in the universe, Lady Justice smiles.

  8. SusanG

    I wonder where he’s been working that he was ever covered under a new plan on day 1! Everywhere I’ve ever worked, and when I was an employer providing plans for my employees, there was always a minimum of a 30 day wait for coverage. The insurance providers just don’t offer immediate coverage as far as I know.

  9. bud

    I’m with Brad on this one. What can you say about Mr. Harris that isn’t completely obvious. It just leaves you shaking your head when these people push forward with this conservative agenda in the most callously hypocritical manner imaginable. In the mean time thousands of Americans will continue to be ruined by the cost of healthcare.

  10. Kathryn "Blue" Fenner

    So what’s the pithy epithet–CongressCare?

    Even during the whole health care reform debate, lots of commentators pointed out how cushy the Congressional health plan is. Why is the PR about health care reform so terrible?

  11. Lynn

    He isn’t the first physician (employed by a large healthcare system) to not understand healthcare. He may understand medicine but medicine is NOT healthcare. Medicine is a profession, healthcare is BIG Biz.

    He will also be surprised to find that costs he faced in Maryland are below the national average because Maryland has had for 30+ years an all payer rate review process that “sets” hospital payments. Much like a public service commission. All payers, public and private pay hospitals (not doctors, however) the same amount. NO cost shifting from public to private insurance. Government regulated prices helping to hold down the rate of cost increases. WOW!

  12. martin

    Well, my internist was on the Pro Publica Dollars for Doctors listing to the tune of $10,000 from drug companies last year.

    I think doctors understand the medical business very well and they’re not real professional about it. Unless you consider bribes to prescribe drugs as professional.

    Starting with Bill Frist to Ron Paul and the guy from Montana…look at the records of the physicians in Congress. They are not in the real world.

    My favorite is Sen. Coburn the C Street ob/gyn who claimed doctor/patient privilege when refusing to talk about the advice he gave to his MALE C Street buddy Sen. Ensign about the money he should pay to keep his lover quiet about their affair.

    The rules are different for doctors and the rules are differnt for politicians. When the two coincide, watch out for major hypocrisy and srrogance.

  13. Juan Caruso

    “… the obvious — if Congress would simply let us all buy into its health plan, I’d be happy. Wouldn’t you? If only Obamacare did that much, it would be a wonderful thing.”

    Absolutely. Sadly that very point was being made by Tea Party advocates but only a handful of congressmen (on both sides of the aisle, however) during heated debates over Pelosi’s bill months ago!

    The sudden enlightenment amazes me.

  14. Joanne

    I understand now that his spokesperson is saying that this genius was just making a point and that he didn’t mean it that way.

    My students will frequently say, “I was just kidding” when they get in trouble. I guess this is what he meant…

  15. Brad

    Oh, he was making a point, all right, whether he intended to or not. Not many people set out to make the point, “I’m an idiot,” but many of us succeed in doing so.

  16. Jesse S.

    @SusanG, I had the same thought. I’m guessing the good Rep hasn’t talked to anyone who has had the pleasure of getting canned on their 89th day or at least he doesn’t realize how painfully elitist and condescending his comments were.

  17. Kathryn Fenner

    Yesterday’s paper had an article wherein doctors/medical school profs defended their paid speeches on behalf of drug companies as necessary educational activities. Funny how other profs manage to speak without receiving more than a very token honorarium–a couple hundred bucks, tops.

    I guess it’s different if you’re an MD, because you went to school so long–wait, you mean the other professors went to school at least as long?

  18. KP

    As someone who’s paid a ton of money for ten years for coverage Andy Harris wouldn’t wipe his runny nose on, I’m incensed that he’s incensed.

  19. Herb Brasher

    Brad, did you see this piece in the NY Times. Classy. Classy, but tragic. I especially liked this quote:

    When widely followed public figures feel free to say anything, without any fact-checking, we have a problem. It becomes impossible for a democracy to think intelligently about big issues — deficit reduction, health care, taxes, energy/climate — let alone act on them.

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