Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Enough of Health Care Repeal

Tuesday January 25, 2011 President Obama gave his second State of the Union.  One of the biggest topics mentioned was the Republicans desire to repeal the Health Reform Law.  The text of the official Republican response to the State of the Union address, as prepared for delivery by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, can be found at the link.
Enough with false promises from the Republicans. As President Obama noted in his speech, it makes no sense to spend another two years with legislation, because repeal is not going to happen.  Better for all of us if Congress fix problems and move on.  The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care

Nancy Reagan at Bethesda Naval Hospital, MD
Another solution – let the Republicans and Democrats against Health Care Reform decline to participate in Government sponsored health care like the bill proposed H.R.3937, Latest Title: Simple Universal Healthcare Act of 2009 Sponsor: Rep Terry, Lee [NE-2] (introduced 10/27/2009) Cosponsors (None), Latest Major Action: 12/8/2009 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions. The bill covered the President, Vice-President and members of Congress, plus individuals not covered under the The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program.  

Under FEHB, those eligible for coverage pay an annual premium matched by the government. Since there are millions of civilian employees across the United States, territories and overseas, the health program has hundreds of program from which to choose.  But unlike regular employees, Congressmen can receive care at military hospitals such as Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Medical Center. Both hospitals have VIP wards/units for high profile people such as presidents, cabinet members, members of Congress, diplomats and eligible family members. The units have special staff which includes private chef.  VIP ward at Walter Reed gets scrutiny story with pictures.

Official text for H.R. 3937.
A bill to establish a health benefits program, based on the Federal employees health benefits program, to provide health insurance coverage for the President, Vice President, and Members of Congress, and citizens not eligible for coverage under the Federal employees health benefits program; to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committees on Oversight and Government Reform, Education and Labor, and Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.

The 2011 salary for Congress is 2011 -- $174,000 per annum with Senate leaders -- majority and minority leaders, and the president pro tempore -- have received higher salaries than other members. Currently, leaders earn $193,400 per year, and Speaker of the House $223,500.  A cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) increase takes effect annually unless Congress votes to not accept it. The Working Poor: Invisible in America 
Many Congressmen were lawyers before arriving at Congress which should have netted a good income. U.S. Congressmen Tim Murphy, PhD. (R-PA) and Phil Gingrey, M.D. (R-GA) announced the formation of the GOP Doctors Caucus for the 111th Congress with 13 members. Do these Republicans propose to provide health care for all Americans as good as they get?