By MARC McDONALD
Contrary to what you might have heard, GOP politicians aren't opposed to all taxpayer-funded health care. For example, they've got no problem with the lavish, taxpayer-funded health care that they themselves receive as members of Congress. They just don't want anyone else in America to enjoy these generous benefits.
In fact, members of Congress get the finest health care in America---and it's mostly paid for by taxpayers.
I don't have a problem with Democratic politicians getting taxpayer-funded health care. After all, many of them are trying to extend such benefits to the rest of us.
But for GOP politicians to receive such lavish, taxpayer-supported health care while loudly opposing it for everyone else is, of course, stinking hypocrisy.
Amazingly, no Republican politician to my knowledge has ever admitted this glaring contradiction. None of them have ever demanded that their own health-care coverage be the same as what ordinary working stiffs get, out in the private sector. And nobody in the MSM ever bothers to call them out on this blatant hypocrisy.
Members of Congress participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). They get a wide range of plans to choose from. They can also insure their spouses and dependents. There's no waiting period. And unlike the rest of us, no member of Congress has to worry about being denied coverage.
I've never heard of a member of Congress going bankrupt from medical bills. For the rest of us, the No. 1 cause of bankruptcy in America is caused by medical bills. In fact, medical bankruptcies affect about 2 million Americans annually. And even as GOP politicians enjoy generous health care benefits, they seem genuinely surprised at the notion that there's any kind of "crisis" going on with health care in America.
And here's something that GOP politicians would rather you not know: the government (i.e. you, the U.S. taxpayer) pays up to 75 percent of Congress members' health-care premiums, according to the Office of Personnel Management.
And as the St. Petersburg Times pointed out last year, members of Congress get other health-care benefits, as well, (funded by millions in taxpayer dollars):
Members of Congress have their own pharmacy, right in the Capitol. They also have a team of doctors, technicians and nurses standing by in case something busts in a filibuster. They can get a physical exam, an X-ray or an electrocardiogram, without leaving work.
GOP politicians think it's fine to enjoy taxpayer-funded health-care benefits. They just don't want these benefits for anyone else in America. Keep this in mind the next time you hear a GOP politician ranting away about how the government has no business being involved in health care.
If you think it's important that Americans have a strong public health insurance option this year, then consider writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.