A Taste of Their Own Medicine. (Coburn Amendment #226) For many liberals in Congress, a new public health insurance plan, to compete against private health insurance, is an absolute "must" for health care reform. Virtually all independent analysts estimate that, given the special advantages of taxpayer subsidies and regulation, that the competition would be rigged, and millions of Americans with private health insurance today would be dumped by their employers into the new public plan. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) proposed an amendment that would require all members of Congress and their staffs to enroll in the newly created public health insurance plan. This means that they would be required to give up their private insurance coverage (nationwide there are 283 plans competing for federal employees' dollars), which is today provided through the popular and successful Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). With many members of Congress openly willing to create incentives that would drive Americans out of their existing private coverage, Sen. Coburn put his colleagues to a test. Although 10 Senate Democrats voted against it, the Coburn amendment passed by one vote. Taxpayers should watch very closely whether this amendment is preserved or buried.
I'm guessing it'll be buried - I don't think they have the political courage to stand up for this, and there is no way in H-E-L-L that a majority of Congress is going to give up their top-notch premium health care coverage for this crap-heap that they're going to dump on all the rest of us. If a member was to vote against this, they'd be handing the campaign equivalent of a bazooka to their opponent in 2010, and a whole lot of Democrats are already sweating bullets over how they're going to justify what they've done to this country over the past few months, particularly the ones in Republican-leaning districts. It doesn't get much plainer than 'it's good enough for you, but not good enough for me' to evoke the sort of peon rebellion that results in mass Congressional retirements.
Of course, with the way ideology is driving the Democrat party right now, I suppose it's possible that the vulnerable ones will fall on their swords (or be forced to do so) and vote this bilge into law, knowing they'll take their cushy federal pensions home with them at the next election. Only time will tell.
Still, it's a brilliant move on Coburn's part. This is exactly the kind of thing that needs to be publicized as far and wide as possible. The more people that know about this sort of uber-hypocrisy and elitism, the better.
Call your Senators and demand they support this amendment (if they won't, make them justify it), and hit the link above for lots of other good info on some of the major problems with the government health care takeover.
There's my two cents.