"It's time for Washington to stop acting like an aristocracy,
where Congress treats itself to luxuries and forces everybody
else into convoluted, inefficient, and low-quality so-called
'options,'" —ALG President Bill Wilson.
July 16th, 2009, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government president, Bill Wilson, today called upon members of the House of Representatives to adopt a resolution (H. Res. 615) stating that "Members who vote in favor of the establishment of a public, Federal Government run health insurance option are urged to forgo their right to participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and agree to enroll under that public option."
The measure is sponsored by Congressman John Fleming and currently has 42 cosponsors. On his website, Fleming writes, "Under the current draft of the Democrat healthcare legislation, members of Congress are curiously exempt from the government-run health care option, keeping their existing health plans and services on Capitol Hill. If Members of Congress believe so strongly that government-run health care is the best solution for hard working American families, I think it only fitting that Americans see them lead the way."
"What's good for the goose is good for the gander," said ALG's Wilson. "If members of the House are expecting everyone to be a part of this government-run system, then they should be taken off the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan and put on to this so-called public 'option' since they like it so much."
Currently, members of the House and Senate are covered by a health care plan offering a wide variety of options, including private coverage, according to the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan website, "Federal employees, retirees and their survivors enjoy the widest selection of health plans in the country."
As participants, members of Congress can choose from "Consumer-Driven and High Deductible plans that offer catastrophic risk protection with higher deductibles, health savings/reimbursable accounts and lower premiums, or Fee-for-Service (FFS) plans, and their Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO), or Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) if you live (or sometimes if you work) within the area serviced by the plan."
"It's time for Washington to stop acting like an aristocracy, where Congress treats itself to luxuries and forces everybody else into convoluted, inefficient, and low-quality so-called 'options,'" said Wilson.
"Members of Congress know that the system they are proposing will be much, much worse than the health options they currently have," Wilson added. "What they need to acknowledge is that it will also be much, much worse than the options the American people currently have."
Wilson also called upon the House Committees on Education and Labor, Ways and Means, and Energy and Commerce to adopt a binding measure that would require all members of Congress to enroll in the government-run health insurance option if lawmakers adopt one.
A similar provision, proposed by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), has already been adopted in the Senate version of the bill. In order for it to be included in the House version, the "three-in-one" committee currently considering the legislation needs to add it in.
The Coburn amendment passed by a vote of 12-11 in committee with Senators Chris Dodd (D-Conn) and Ted Kennedy (D-Mass) voting with Senators John McCain (R-Ariz), Orrin G Hatch (R-Utah), Richard Burr (R-NC), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn), Tom Coburn (R-Okla), Pat Roberts (R-Kan), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga), and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo) in favor.
In committee, Senator Coburn said, "Let's demonstrate leadership—and confidence in the system—by requiring that every member of Congress go into it." 11 Democratic members voted no, including Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), who said, "I don't know why we should require ourselves to participate in a plan that no one else needs to participate in."
"Senator Bingaman is still sticking to the big lie that the public 'option' will at all be optional," said Wilson.
"The unfortunate impact of this government-run health care proposal will be to crowd out private options, leaving Americans in the end with no other option but to use the Orwellian, abominable, government-run plan that will burden taxpayers with an insurmountable level of debt. This will be the largest government entitlement in human history, and it will break the public treasury," Wilson concluded.