June 24, 2009, - 12:35 pm

Will Congress Apply Obamacare to . . . Itself?

By Debbie Schlussel
One of the biggest problems with Congress is that it doesn’t apply the laws it makes for the rest of us, to itself. Congressmen and Senators are hypocrites. That’s a big part of why many of us support term limits. Those who make the laws need to live among us and feel what it’s like to have the laws they make applied to themselves. They need to experience the difficulties, the effects, the consequences.
Unfortunately, that’s never the case. Career politicians live their whole careers in the elite stratosphere of Capitol Hill never feeling the effects of their work on the little people.
And it’s the same with medicine. When I worked on Capitol Hill, I marveled at the great health plans that Members of Congress and Senators get (and their staff members, in most cases). When I got sick or hurt once, I got sent to a doctor’s office around the corner, and I didn’t pay a dime or have to show proof of insurance.
Not sure if that’s still the case, but our federal elected officials still have sterling silver health plans, unlike the rest of us.


The real test of Obamacare is whether these politicians wishing to impose socialized medicine on the rest of us, will do so for themselves.
Here’s how they fare now, compared with you:

Congressional lawmakers . . . paid less at the doctor’s office under their own insurance than the national average in 2008 but also shelled out up to 13% more for premiums, the studies show.

Before you read this part, keep in mind that McClellan headed the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services under Bush and his brother, Mike, was the Bush turncoat press spokesman. Under McClellan, he ignored billions of dollars of Medicaid fraud by pregnant Muslim aliens and their Muslim doctors, when it was brought to his attention. So, he was part of the problem of high medical expenses, not the solution.

Mark McClellan, a doctor and economist at the Brookings Institution, said he believes members of Congress are getting a good deal. McClellan helped develop a report for the Bipartisan Policy Center that recommends using lawmakers’ premiums as a benchmark for taxing purposes.
“It’s significantly more generous than most Americans are getting,” said McClellan, who suggests Congress could raise money for a health care overhaul by taxing premiums that exceed those included in their own plan.
Lawmakers’ health insurance, which is the same available to all federal workers, is part of the equation. Members of Congress also receive care by a physician at the Capitol for a small fee and treatment at military hospitals – the same offered to presidents and visiting dignitaries, watchdog groups say. . . .
Lawmakers choose from a range of private insurers. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management does not track how many members of Congress enroll in individual plans, but a Blue Cross Blue Shield preferred provider organization (PPO) is the most popular for all federal employees, according to the agency.
That Blue Cross plan scored well in an analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service. The report found the federal plan had lower deductibles and co-pays than “typical” PPOs but did not rate as well as an average health maintenance organization (HMO). . . .
A Kaiser survey found the average PPO premium for individual coverage was $4,802 in 2008. For a family, the premium was $12,937. The federal plan’s premiums were higher ($5,386) for individuals but lower ($12,335) for families, according to the Office of Personnel Management.
The government paid 69% of that premium for a family, less than the 73% average. . . .
Lawmakers can also utilize taxpayer-subsidized care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had bypass surgery at Bethesda in 2003. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., battled cancer last year with treatments received at both sites.
Pete Sepp, a spokesman with the National Taxpayers Union and an expert on benefits received by members of Congress, questioned whether those additional perks skew how lawmakers look at health care.
“It sure can’t help their perception of what the average consumer has to deal with,” he said.

Free Healthcare for Everyone! Meet Your New Doctor . . .


11 Responses

Debbie- do they make rubber glove to cover the rest of him completely? ewwwww

Mistress_Dee on June 24, 2009 at 1:31 pm

What happens to if and when they get voted out of office do they get to keep their health care?
Also this is not just on the National level it happens in city, county, state where they are paid a higher amount of salary plus benefits and lots more days off then someone in the a similar position in private sector!

ohboyohboy on June 24, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Why do so many people and NY Times readers think they should make money but that no one in the health care industry should? Just this week there were letters to the editor decrying a system in which doctors make a profit. Yes, I don’t see any complaints about laweysr making a profit. In fact, two of the letters were from trial lawyers who reap huge profits from medical lwsuits that do nothing toi actually improve healthcare, just drive up prices.
You can bet they see even bigger dollar signs suing the government in the future.

Greg on June 24, 2009 at 2:51 pm

I was saying the same thing for awhile now. Why not just extend the federal government’s plan to the country and skip the dead weight lead balloon known as Obamacare? Its based on choice, cost and competition – free market principles that serve elected federal officials and employees well. The rest of us are just too stupid – or gullible – to get what they have so we have to be shoved into an inferior government-run plan. Obamacare is a health turkey for the rest of us!

NormanF on June 24, 2009 at 3:14 pm

“Medical care for all” will ALWAYS loom in the horizon as long as:
1. The patient doesn’t pay the entire medical bill.
2. The cost incurred by Lawyers doesn’t drop or go away.
3. So many people have an entitlement attitude towards medical care.

SamAdams on June 24, 2009 at 5:14 pm

SamAdams, as long as people expect to be taken care of by others, we will never have a sane and responsible health care system in this country.

NormanF on June 24, 2009 at 5:51 pm

The problems within our health care system were CREATED by our government. Very few people have any understanding why employers are involved with providing healthcare coverage. The fact is that employer provided healthcare grew out of government regulation due to wage freezes during WWII.
This benefit was something that employers back then could offer to recruit and retain employees when they could not raise wages. By exempting this benefit from taxes, government rewarded employers and employees to continue to offer this type of coverage.
Prior to this point in history, we were largely pay for service. Then along came Ted Kennedy that forced the HMO ACT of 1978 down our throats that forced business to offer health benefits to its employees. Kennedy said this was going to reduce health costs and lower insurance rates. It in fact resulted in skyrocketing health costs as well as forcing over 2200 private hospitals to close and the HMO industry became a cabal with the Governments blessing. The Congress had to change anti trust laws to enact the HMO Act because what they were mandating was illegal at the time.(anti trust law)
The result over time is that there is virtually no competition because the Federal Government tell insurers what hey can and cannot offer and the consumer has no idea how much the procedures and Rxís cost because the HMO is paying for it all. In short, they have mandated semi socialistic fascist health care already. The reasons costs escalate is that there is no competition.
How about dropping all government spending (including tax benefits on coverage) in the area of healthcare. After all, it is a power not granted to the government in the constitution anyway. How about a return to pay for service based system?
This would force the insurance companies to offer creative and affordable plans at an individual level, with more choices than you see from your employer-negotiated plans today. Ending government spending in healthcare is the only way to return healthcare costs to reasonable levels. Besides how do you like the way the post office, airport security, or any other government program is being run?

ScottyDog on June 24, 2009 at 6:58 pm

An angle that very few are talking about vis-a-vis socialized medicine is this: LIBERTY. In a State-reunsystem that seeks to provide effecient and cost effective treatment here is the rub: now Uncle Obama and his minions can literally control your life and justify it as negatively impacting the economic nature of heath care. For example, if you do not manage your weight, you could be denied care. Certain foods could be restricted for the negative caloric side effects they provide. Do you see where this is going? Health care is a ruse. It is not important to Obama and the Dems whether or not we are healthy. What matters is that a State run system will allow them to CONTROL OUR LIVES. It is all about a naked power grab of the highest order.

sgatesam on June 24, 2009 at 8:28 pm

Debbie, the intentions here are good, namely: strangling private enterprise, redistributing wealth to favored constituents, scalping rich Republican doctors, creating a level of care available only to the politically connected, and creating vast new bureaucracies that control our basic needs all while avoiding tort reform has its merits. I just can’t imagine this is going to work out as planned.

Anonymous1 on June 24, 2009 at 10:58 pm

Arizona will place on the ballot a proposition to opt out of national healthcare. KING HUSSEIN COBRAMA wont like that.
And the picture of Michale Moore looks like he is happy to give those free rectal exams.

californiascreaming on June 24, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Quickly go online and find the following ebooks:
“Where There is no Doctor: A Village Healthcare Handbook”
“Where There is no Dentist”
“US Naval Advanced Handbook for Hospital Corpsman”
“Emergency War Surgery” – US ARMY
“Survival and Austere Medicine – An Introduction”
These won’t make a doctor out of you, but they’re a good start for taking care of yourself. Better prepared and a little safe than totally sorry.

bhparkman on June 24, 2009 at 11:23 pm

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