GOP health care hypocrisy part XVII: Andy Harris

Posted on: Tue, 11/16/2010 - 13:03 By: Tom Swiss

Andy Harris is an incoming GOP Representative from Maryland's Eastern Shore. He defeated Democrat Frank Kratovil in part by campaigning against the health care reform act (even though Kratovil had twice voted against it), telling voters that "the answer to the ever-rising cost of insurance is not the expansion of government-run or government-mandated insurance but, instead, common-sense market based solutions that ensure decisions are made by patients and their doctors."

As a member of Congress, of course, Harris will now get government-subsidized health care. But he's upset that it doesn't start soon enough -- he was outspokenly upset to learn that his new insurance will take effect on February 1, 28 days after he's sworn into office.

“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 who saw the exchange. The benefits session, held behind closed doors, drew about 250 freshman members, staffers and family members to the Capitol Visitors Center auditorium late Monday morning,”.

“Harris then asked if he could purchase insurance from the government to cover the gap,” added the aide, who was struck by the similarity to Harris’s request and the public option he denounced as a gateway to socialized medicine.

I love that last bit: yes, I think the option of purchasing insurance from the government -- a.k.a., the public option -- would be a fine idea. Funny how Harris came around to it real quick when he saw that he might have a gap in his coverage, isn't it?

Harris's spokeswoman Anna Nix later said that Harris wasn’t being hypocritical, heavens no, he was just pointing out the inefficiency of government-run health care.

For the record, members of Congress get the same health insurance options that other federal employees do, with a range of private plans including a popular Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO. But unlike my friends who work at the Goddard Space Flight Center, for example, Congresscritters and Senators can get taxpayer-subsidized treatment -- including free (to them) outpatient procedures -- by top docs in "VIP Wards" at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center (rather different care, we must note, than most wounded vets get there.)