Making some lemonade out of Rep.-elect Andy Harris's ongoing embarassment, a handful of Dems in the House are asking Republicans to put their principles where their mouths are and reject their taxpayer-funded health benefits.
Four members -- Joe Crowley (NY), Linda Sanchez (CA), Donna Edwards (MD), and Tim Ryan (OH) -- are rounding up signatures for a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Speaker-to-be John Boehner, encouraging them to press their members to refuse their federal health benefits based on the same principles underlying their opposition to health care reform.
"It is amazing that your members would complain about not having health care coverage for a few weeks, even after campaigning to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which will help provide coverage to millions of Americans who find themselves without health insurance for months or even years," the letter reads. "It begs the question: how many members of the Republican conference will be forgoing the employer-subsidized FEHBP coverage and experiencing what so many Americans find themselves forced to face? If your conference wants to deny millions of Americans affordable health care, your members should walk that walk."
Somehow I think Boehner and McConnell won't be taking them up on the challenge. But,there's at least a couple of newly elected Republican who aren't hypocrites on health benefits. Rep.-elect Mike Kelly won't enroll.
This morning, a caller to C-SPAN’s Washington Journal asked Rep.-elect Mike Kelly (R-PA) — who "strongly opposes" the health care law — if he would be willing to give up his government-sponsored health insurance. Kelly said that he would:
KELLY: There is no reason for anybody to get anything different than anybody else. I personally have always paid for my own health care... why should my pension as a public official be any different from anyone else’s pension? Why should my health care, as a public official, be any different than anybody else’s? No, level across the board. [...]
Q: So will you have a Congressional plan?
KELLY: No, I do not need. I got my own plan, I don’t need a congressional plan. I’ve taken care of myself for a long time.
Rep.-elect Bobby Schilling is also going to opt of the congressional plan. Of course, these two are in the atypical and enviable position of being able to afford to buy insurance on their own, or perhaps having spouses with plans they can be on. So bully for them.