Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ron Johnson and His Staff Have No Choice But to Reject their Federal Health Care Plans

During his campaign, Ron Johnson made clear -- and in no uncertain terms -- that he was against "government-run health care." In fact, he cited "Obamacare" as the reason he got into the race in the first place. Well, now it's time to put his money where his mouth has been.

If Ron Johnson expects to be taken seriously, he needs to decline the health care plan given to members of the United State Senate by the federal government. He's a millionaire, after all, and should have no problem finding his own private insurance plan.

But at the end of the day this is only one insurance plan. Symbolic -- yes, but hardly a sufficient sample size to make a difference in either the federal deficit. Johnson may be just one person, but he's also now in charge of an office that can be staffed with between 40-50 people. If Johnson is serious about the dangers of "government-run health care" he should require his employees to find their own private health insurance carriers.

There's really no way around this. It wasn't just "Obamacare" that Johnson railed against during the campaign -- it was "government-run health care" and as such Johnson owes it to the voters to deliver. Right now Johnson is a member of the minority party without any seniority, so it's not like he's got a lot of clout in the Senate. He's pretty much limited to symbolic gestures, and by declining the health care plans offered to all federal employees is really the only tool he has to make any dent in the deficit and/or statement about the virtues of "free market health care."

This isn't just a silly request coming from an opposition nutter. Two of Johnson's colleagues in the House are declining their health care plans, while another seems to not understand just what it was he campaigned against. The only way Johnson can credibly distinguish himself between the two is if he rejects the Senate's health care plan and mandates his staff find private insurers.

Let's be clear about this: even if Johnson himself declines the perk, it will essentially be meaningless unless his staff is required to do the same. Senators don't work alone and a lion's share of the actual day-to-day duties of any federal office are completed by the staff. They are just as much representatives of their employer as they are of the people they work for and they should be held to the same ideological standard.

Russ Feingold held his staffers to much stricter standards with regards to gifts from lobbyists than any other congressman during his 18 years in office because campaign finance reform was his pet issue. Since Johnson felt so passionately about the value of private health insurance, he should feel obligated to act in a similar manner. This isn't about policy: it's about holding one's self to a higher standard, and, frankly, given Johnson's apocalyptic rhetoric on the evils of "government-run health care," he has no choice but eliminate every last trace of it from his office.

Anything less will look hypocritical.

(The same goes for rest of the newly elected GOPers who won their elections from Scott Walker to the lowliest state Assembly person. It's not enough for just you to decline what you've been shrieking against, but you also have to deny the same perk to your staffers. This is, after all, the world you've wanted.)

MORE: And no sooner did I speak than did PPP [via M] field a poll yielding the same results:
Most Americans think incoming Congressmen who campaigned against the health care bill should put their money where their mouth is and decline government provided health care now that they're in office. Only 33% think they should accept the health care they get for being a member of Congress while 53% think they should decline it and 15% have no opinion.
Remember: we're asking incoming GOP congressmen to not only refuse the health care plan for themselves, but also for their staffers. Here are the crosstabs:

PPP Poll on Incoming GOP Congressmen Refusing Federal Health Care Plans


Josh Herman said...

Chief is back!

Anonymous said...

Chief is back! Huzzah!

Anonymous said...

No election analysis?

CJ said...

Welcome back Chief. We missed ya,

When I read about Andy Harris I laughed my you-know-whatie off. The fact that he was not only incredulous about the gap between swearing in and insurance dates but has wholly embraced what he railed against is hilarious. Wanted to buy an interim policy from the government to fill that gap?- Unbelievable.

"...Harris, who is the father of five, wasn’t being hypocritical – he was just pointing out the inefficiency of government-run health care."
(Uh, yeah....but he wants it! He just doesn't want us to have it.)

Wonder what Ron will do?
Should we start a letter writing campaign?

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you are back. I was worried that you came to a dreadful ending after the November 2 elections.
We need your critiques and analyses.

Steeeeew-aaaaay said...

Great point and crystal-clear logic. It's logical if you assume that The Teas and The RoJos and so many others actually mean what they are saying. But in my humble - they do not.
And I also think the bedrock reality here in a lot of these "social and political trends" is that a large number of people actively desire and are working VERY hard to establish an elite. I beleive these people feel very comfortable and even relish the idea of "having what others don't" and even the idea of "depriving others of their due" heightens their own enjoyment of That Which They Are Hoarding In Times Of Chaos and Need.
1.Dupe the idiots into supporting your rise to power and entitlement
2. Pull up the drawbridges and make yourselves as unassailable as possible
3. Eat, drink and be merry while listening to the screams of the populace outside.
4. If possible, invite in a few wretched beasts to make them grovel for crumbs and also flaunt what you've got.
5. Be assured that you are in this position because you are one of God's Chosen and intrinsically superior from birht

If that seems extreme to anyone, study the history of the way any elite class has self-justified AND think a little about the kinds of "philosophers" these "new wave" people are drawn to - Charles Murray anyone?
It's just like one of those big-budget disaster movies where the meteor is headed for Earth, the upper crust few are racing for the Escape Craft while Keeping The Masses Distracted and Confused Until The Last Minute
Ha ha you un-washed bastards! you are fucked and we love it!

That pretty much sums up politics today in my Official Stewian Opinion. While I wait for the meteor to hit I do enjoy the rare encounter with a clean-thinking mind. One that is not saturated with clusterfuck group-think and the squealingly timid need-to-belong. It doesn't matter if I "agree" all the time or not, it doesn't matter if you arrive at the exact same conclusions as The Squealingly Timid. There is something else of value going on here. Keep it alive if possible.
Also - I hate giving compliments, let's just both look awkwardly away and pretend this whole thing never happened

Welcome back Motherfucker!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely correct. The people have spoken, they should just voluntarily give up health care, the President should take it away from Congress. The reasoning would be the same as for any company, we simply can't afford to provide these benefits anymore. How much would that save.

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