From Politico.com and The Washington Post – Glenn Thrush and Ezra Klein on Rank Hypocrisy

Gentle Readers, I think Ezra Klein is in error here; it IS hypocritical to oppose health care for the working poor while at the same time complaining that there is no government insurance option to cover the gap.  I met and spoke [very little actually, I had a hard time even maintaining my composure after listening to his position on health care reform] with Doctor Harris in a meeting in Florida and was impressed by the  virulence and lack of nuance – thoughtlessness really – of his positions.
Look at the figure in Mr. Klein’s piece; the Affordable Care Act is by no means perfect, it is just better.  The United States appears to move only incrementally; this figure shows us such movement.  The new radicals in Congress would like to stop that movement; where are the grown-ups ?
The bottom-line here is as follows – the wealthy will continue to be protected and the people who also work in our country – but are not as well-paid or lucky as the rich – are left to fend for themselves.  And Mr. Obama – whom I supported and support – appears to STILL be trying to compromise with these Republican / Tea-Party radicals.
I can’t help but wonder, do all great countries disintegrate in this manner ?  Is this really what has to happen ?  AJL

GOP frosh: Where’s my health care ?

By GLENN THRUSH | 11/15/10 9:54 PM EST Updated: 11/16/10 7:59 PM EST

A conservative Maryland physician elected to Congress on an anti-Obamacare platform surprised fellow freshmen at a Monday orientation session by demanding to know why his government-subsidized health care plan takes a month to kick in.

Republican Andy Harris, an anesthesiologist who defeated freshman Democrat Frank Kratovil on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, reacted incredulously when informed that federal law mandated that his government-subsidized health care policy would take effect on Feb. 1 – 28 days after his Jan. 3rd swearing-in.

“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.

Harris, a Maryland state senator who works at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and several hospitals on the Eastern Shore, also told the audience, “This is the only employer I’ve ever worked for where you don’t get coverage the first day you are employed,” his spokeswoman Anna Nix told POLITICO.

Under COBRA law, Harris can pay a premium to extend his current health insurance an additional month.

Nix said Harris, who is the father of five, wasn’t being hypocritical – he was just pointing out the inefficiency of government-run health care.

Harris hammered Kratovil on health care throughout a bitter fall campaign, despite the fact that the conservative Democrat voted twice against the reform package backed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), a close Kratovil ally.

“Although he voted against Obamacare, Mr. Kratovil refuses to commit to its repeal. Dr. Harris understands that the Obama-Pelosi-Hoyer agenda threatens to pull the plug on America’s long-term health,” Harris said in an Oct. 30 statement. “”In Washington, I will never vote to raise taxes, I will fight to repeal health-care reform, and I will work to balance the budget.”

—————————————————–

GOP legislator frets over 28 days without insurance — but what about 30 million he’d leave uninsured?

By Ezra Klein
The Washington Post
November 16, 2010; 9:00 AM ET

It’s worth dwelling for a moment on the reaction of Rep. Andy Harris, an incoming legislator who staunchly opposes the new health-care law and ran promising its repeal, to news that he’d had to wait a month for his government-funded health-care benefits to kick in:

Republican Andy Harris, an anesthesiologist who defeated freshman Democrat Frank Kratovil on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, reacted incredulously when informed that federal law mandated that his government-subsidized health-care policy would take effect Feb. 1 – 28 days after his Jan. 3rd swearing-in.

“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. … “Harris then asked if he could purchase insurance from the government to cover the gap,” added the aide.

The point isn’t that it’s hypocritical to oppose health-care subsidies for poorer people or an individual mandate while simultaneously wanting every benefit your federal job gives you. Those positions can coexist. It’s Harris’s fear at being uninsured. But whatever else you think of the health-care law, it really does keep people from being uninsured. Yesterday, Aaron Carroll pulled together a graph looking at the number of uninsured under the status quo, the GOP’s alternative health-care plan, and the Affordable Care Act. Harris presumably supports one of the first two options. But that means he’s leaving a lot of people to wonder what to do without health care — and for a lot longer than 28 days:

Uninsured-in-Plans-500x409.jpg


About AJ Layon

AJ Layon was, for 28 years, at the University of Florida College of Medicine, in the Division of Critical Care Medicine, in Gainesville, FL. For the past approximately 10 years, until September 2011, he was Professor and Chief of Critical Care Medicine at UF; In September of 2011 he became System Director of Critical Care Medicine in PA. While his interests are primarily related to health care, health care reform, and ethical issues, as a citizen of our United States and our world, he will occasionally opine on issues of our "time and destiny". You are welcome to respond to him at ajlayon@gmail.com.
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