Leonard Lance Isn’t The Only Anti-Healthcare Republican Who Thinks Taxpayers Should Pay For His Family’s Healthcare

Our radio ads in NJ-7 and FL-24, exposing the gross hypocrisy of Leonard Lance and Sandy Adams– each of whom tried to deceive their constituents by claiming to not be taking government-subsidized healthcare while getting it from their respective state’s programs– have stopped running… at least for now. We have some more plans for these two liars.

As Jim Rosen pointed out for the McClatchy newspapers a few days ago, Norman Ornstein, an analyst with the conservative American Enterprise Institute, notes a significant gap between the talk and the walk of lawmakers who oppose “the federal takeover of health care” while accepting taxpayer funded medical benefits for themselves and their families. Ornstein points out that “The amount of hypocrisy here is obviously very high for people who talk about how we all have to make sacrifices, but don’t make any sacrifices themselves. They talk about how the health care system is out of control, but then they take these very generous benefits they get as members of Congress.”

One or two of the Republicans– but literally only one or two– actually sound almost like progressive Democrats when they refuse the healthcare package. Florida freshman Richard Nugent, in turning down the federal medical benefits to which he was entitled, seemed to indict the vast majority of the other GOP freshmen as hypocrites. “When you have Americans that are struggling, why should I get a cost savings because I’ve just got elected to the United States House of Representatives?” Sounds great, right? Except… does the former sheriff get taxpayer-funded healthcare through his old job, the way Lance does?

Seventeen new Republican lawmakers, almost one-fifth of the large House GOP freshman class, have rejected federal medical coverage for themselves and their families to highlight their opposition to President Barack Obama’s showcase health insurance law.

South Carolina’s four rookie congressmen aren’t following their lead.

Reps. Tim Scott, Mick Mulvaney, Trey Gowdy and Jeff Duncan all voted last month to repeal what they and their Republican colleagues scathingly call “ObamaCare,” the landmark bill the president signed into law last March to provide federally mandated coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans.

Yet the state’s four freshman representatives aren’t repealing their own new memberships in the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program, a heavily taxpayer-subsidized plan with broad choices, generous provisions and low premiums thanks to discounted rates for its 8 million policyholders nationwide [72% of whose costs are paid by taxpayers].

…Rep. Trey Gowdy, a Spartanburg Republican who defeated incumbent Rep. Bob Inglis last year in the Upstate’s GOP primary, said he now has the same health coverage he had from 1994 to 2000 when he was a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Greenville.

“The way our health insurance is set up in this country is– you receive health insurance from your employer,” Gowdy said.

Gowdy said he chose to go on the federal health plan instead of using state government coverage provided to his wife and their two children through her job as a Spartanburg public schools teacher’s aide.

“It may have scored political points for me to tell everyone I turned down my federal health insurance, but it seems disingenuous and would have added to the South Carolina rolls someone who has employment elsewhere,” he said.

However solid it may be, that kind of reasoning could extract a political price.

Only one-third of Americans believe that new House members who campaigned against Obama’s health insurance law should accept their federal medical coverage, according to a survey in November by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-affiliated firm in Raleigh, N.C.

Fifty-two percent of Americans think the GOP freshmen lawmakers should reject the federal benefits, while 15 percent have no opinion.

Republican and independent voters had even stronger feelings, with 58 percent of them saying their party’s new House members should turn down the medical coverage.

We’re trying to raise the funds to put our ad on more New Jersey radio stations. If you haven’t heard it or would like to donate to that effort, you can do both here. And if you’d like to read a guest post from Ed Potosnak, the progressive Democrat who ran against Lance in 2010 and plans on doing the same in 2012, here’s a link.


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