A Democratic Party leader is challenging Congressional Republicans who campaigned against government-provided health care to reject theirs.
Opposition to President Barack Obama’s health care law enacted in March was a centerpiece of Republican campaigns across the nation during the 2010 elections, in which the GOP made dramatic gains and retook the House of Representatives.
“These Republicans rail against what they call ‘government-run health care,’ but they have no problem taking government health care for themselves,” Chris Redfern, chairman of the Democratic Party in Ohio, told reporters on a conference call Wednesday afternoon.
“If these Republicans don’t believe that health care is a right for all, then they have no right to ask Ohio taxpayers to foot the bill for the health care benefits they enjoy as members of Congress,” he said.
Members of Congress receive their health care through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, a government-administered program comprising about 300 insurance options, which Obama held as a model for his legislation. The plans are believed to be superior to the health care ordinary Americans can purchase.
Redfern argued that members of Congress benefiting from government-subsidized health care are hypocrites to turn around and say a similar type of program is out of bounds or unacceptable for the general public.
“Democrats have always believed that if members of Congress have access to quality, affordable health care, so should the American people. We will continue to call out the hypocrisy of the Republicans in Congress who believe otherwise,” he said.
It’s a logic the public seems to agrees with. A recent Public Policy Polling survey found that 53 percent of voters — including 58 percent of Republicans — believe lawmakers who ran against government health care should uphold their views and purchase their own.
Two newly-elected Republicans — Bobby Schilling (IL) and Mike Kelly (PA) — have so far pledged to give up their government-provided health care and purchase their own. But Speaker-elect John Boehner (R-OH) has declined to do so.
In a remarkable instance last month, a Republican doctor from Maryland elected after campaigning against health care reform was reportedly irritated that his government-provided health care would only kick in weeks after he was sworn in.
The Affordable Care And Patient Protection Act bans insurers from discriminating against sick patients, and provides subsidies and a mandate to purchase health insurance. It is likely to insure over 90 percent of Americans, says the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.