House GOP freshman: I want my government health care, now!


A right-wing Maryland medical doctor, elected to the House after campaigning against "Obamacare," shocked everyone at a closed orientation session on Capitol Hill this week by putting up a fuss when he learned his government health care plan will take a month after he is sworn in to take effect.

Republican Andy Harris, who earns a comfortable living injecting countless Medicare patients with pain medicine just before they are operated on, threw a major tantrum about having to wait for his government-run health care plan.

Harris, who defeated freshman Democrat Frank Kratovil in Maryland, was told that his health care policy would take effect on Feb. 1, 2011, 28 days after his Jan.3 swearing-in. Congressional staffers who saw the exchange reported what they saw to various media outlets.

"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 one staffer.

The closed-door session on benefits drew 250 newly elected representatives and their family members to the Capitol Visitors Center auditorium Nov. 15.

The aide said he was struck by the fact that the good doctor-turned-congressman then made a request for something that sounded a lot like the public option he had denounced as a "gateway to socialism." Harris asked if he could purchase insurance from the government to cover the gap!

"This is the only employer I've ever worked for where you don't get coverage the first day you are employed," he said.

Prior to his election to Congress, Harris was a Maryland state senator who worked at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and several hospitals in that region.

Harris was either unaware that under COBRA law he can pay a premium to extend his current health insurance an additional month or, if aware, not happy to have to go the route taken by millions who lose or change jobs.

Making the hypocrisy even more blatant, Harris relentlessly attacked Kratovil on health care throughout the campaign. The fact that Kratovil was a conservative Democrat who twice voted against health care reform apparently made no difference to Harris.

The doctor tried to excuse this in a campaign statement issued just two days before the election, reading, "Although he voted against Obamacare [sic], 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. 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."

On the Senate side, meanwhile, the opening guns of the GOP attack on healthcare were expected to be fired Nov. 16, when Republican senators on the Finance Committee planned to interrogate Donald Berwick, the president's pick to run the government's Center for Medicare and Medicare Services.

Berwick is a recess appointee whose nomination by the president was held up because he has, in the past, said he admires Britain's National Health Service. Republicans, during the summer, called him "Obama's rationer in chief."

Ever since his recess appointment by Obama in July, Republicans have demanded Berwick appear for a hearing.

Republicans have told the press they would go after Berwick for his "professed love" for Britain's health system, and demand clarification of his role in shaping the system in that country. Queen Elizabeth II granted him an honorary knighthood in 2005 for his decades-long effort to improve the system - an honor that makes Republicans suspicious.

"He'll be asked about what exactly he did for the U.K. government to be knighted," Mark Hayes, a recent health policy adviser to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told Politico. "For him to have that level of recognition conveyed on him, people will want to know that."

Image: Though millions of people want health care reform, Republicans want to discard it - except for themselves. SEIU Local 775 NW // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Post your comment

Comments are moderated. See guidelines here.


  • Shame on you Dr. Harris! You should forgo your Government health insurance since you are against the rest of us from having it.

    Please cancel your insurance so that we the tax payers don't have to support you.

    Buy your own insurance out of your own pocket.

    Posted by Robb, 01/10/2011 4:43pm (5 years ago)


    ( Health Care Budget Deficit Calculator -- )

    ( Briefing: Dean Baker on Boosting the Economy by Saving Healthcare )


    As you all know. Had congress passed a government-run robust Public Option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one, our economy and jobs would have taken off like a rocket. And still will.

    The message from these midterm elections is clear. The American people want real healthcare reform. They want that individual mandate requiring them to buy private health insurance abolished. And they want a government-run robust public option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one. And they want it now.

    They want Drug re-importation, and abolishment or strong restrictions on patents for biologic and prescription drugs. And government controlled and negotiated drug and medical cost. They want back control of their healthcare system from the Medical Industrial Complex. And they want it NOW!


    For profit health insurance is extremely unethical, and morally repugnant. It's as morally repugnant as slavery was. And few if any decent Americans are going to allow them-self to be compelled to support such an unethical and immoral crime against humanity.

    This is a matter of National and Global security. There can be NO MORE EXCUSES.

    Further, we want that corrupt, undemocratic filibuster abolished. Whats the point of an election if one corrupt member of congress can block the will of the people, and any legislation the majority wants. And do it in secret. Give me a break people.

    Also, unemployment healthcare benefits are critically needed. But they should be provided through the Medicare program at cost, less the 65% government premium subsidy provided now to private for profit health insurance.

    Congress should stop wasting hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on private for profit health insurance subsidies. Subsidies that cost the taxpayer 10x as much or more than Medicare does. Private for profit health insurance plans cost more. But provide dangerous and poorer quality patient care.



    This is what the American people are shouting at you. Both parties have just enough power now to do what the American people want. GET! IT! DONE! NOW!

    If congress does not abolish the individual mandate. And establish a government-run public option CHOICE! before the end of 2011. EVERY! member of congress up for reelection in 2012 will face strong progressive pro public option, and anti-individual mandate replacement candidates.

    Strong progressive pro "PUBLIC OPTION" CHOICE! and anti-individual mandate volunteer candidates should begin now. And start the process of replacing any and all members of congress that obstruct, or fail to add a government-run robust PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE! before the end of 2011.

    We need two or three very strong progressive volunteer candidates for every member of congress that will be up for reelection in 2012. You should be fully prepared to politically EVISCERATE EVERY INCUMBENT that fails or obstructs "THE PUBLIC OPTION". And you should be willing to step aside and support the strongest pro "PUBLIC OPTION" candidate if the need arises.

    ASSUME CONGRESS WILL FAIL and SELLOUT again. So start preparing now to CUT THEIR POLITICAL THROATS. You can always step aside if they succeed. But only if they succeed. We didn't have much time to prepare before these midterm elections. So the American people had to use a political shotgun approach. But by 2012 you will have a scalpel.

    Congress you could pass a robust government-run public option now during your lame duck session. You know what the American people want. You already have several bills on record. And the house has already passed a public option. Departing members could leave with a truly great accomplishment. And the rest of you would solidify your job before the 2012 elections.

    President Obama, you promised the American people a strong public option available to everyone. And the American people overwhelmingly supported you for it. Maybe it just wasn't possible before. But it is now.

    Knock heads. Threaten people. Or do whatever you have to. We will support you. But get us that robust public option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one before the end of 2011. Or We The People Of The United States will make this midterm election look like a cake walk in 2012. And it will include you.

    We still have a healthcare crisis in America. With hundreds of thousands dieing needlessly every year in America. And a for profit medical industrial complex that threatens the security and health of the entire world. They have already attacked the world with H1N1 killing thousands, and injuring millions. And more attacks are planned for profit, and to feed their greed.

    Spread the word people.

    Progressives, prepare the American peoples scalpels. It's time to remove some politically diseased tissues.

    God Bless You my fellow human beings. I'm proud to be one of you. You did good.

    See you on the battle field.


    jacksmith – WorkingClass :-)

    Posted by jacksmith, 11/18/2010 5:07pm (5 years ago)

  • Yes, let's tie the health care plan our Congress-people receive to those of all Americans, and see how they feel about health care reform then.

    Posted by Ross R, 11/18/2010 12:14pm (5 years ago)

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments