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Entitled Tea Party Jagoff Wants Government-Run Health Care Immediately Upon Entry to Congress

Andy Harris, a right-wing tea party favorite from Maryland, won his election against Frank Kratovil, and will represent MD-01 in the House come January. Like his fellow freshman legislators, he will not receive coverage under the Federal Employee Benefits Health Program until the first of the next month. This is fairly standard for virtually every job I’ve ever had; in fact, it’s a little better than some which force a three-month “trial period” before benefits kick in, or make new hires wait until the next open enrollment. That’s if your employer provides health insurance at all.

But see, Andy Harris is a US Congressman now. And before that, he was a Republican. Which means he’s as selfish and entitled as all get out, and unwilling to wait for his health care coverage.

A conservative Maryland physician elected to Congress on an anti-Obamacare platform surprised fellow freshmen at a Monday orientation session by demanding to know why his government-subsidized health care plan from the government takes a month to kick in.

Republican Andy Harris, an anesthesiologist who defeated freshman Democrat Frank Kratovil on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, reacted incredulously when informed that federal law mandated that his government-subsidized health care policy would take effect on Feb. 1 – 28 days after his Jan. 3rd swearing-in.

“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 a congressional staffer who saw the exchange. The benefits session, held behind closed doors, drew about 250 freshman members, staffers and family members to the Capitol Visitors Center auditorium late Monday morning,”.

“Harris then asked if he could purchase insurance from the government to cover the gap,” added the aide, who was struck by the similarity to Harris’s request and the public option he denounced as a gateway to socialized medicine.

There’s almost a novelistic quality to this complaint, something you’d find at the end of a short story precisely to make a point. Andy Harris, who would as a Congressman surely work to deny health coverage to millions of Americans, doesn’t know what he will do without health insurance for 28 days. Join the 59 million other Americans who don’t have coverage of their own, most of whom don’t have an end date for that lack of insurance.

Harris’ spin on this is that he was pointing out the “inefficiency of government-run health care.” Actually, he was pointing out the inefficiency of employer-based health care. Employers have all kinds of different rules governing their health insurance coverage, and they don’t care whether or not they match up with their employees’ needs. They don’t make their coverage portable, and they don’t make it easy for employees to transition from one job to the next. Under a comprehensive program that is “government-run,” as Harris says, there would be no issue of this type. You’d acquire your coverage by virtue of being an American citizen, without having to deal with waiting periods and open enrollment at a new job.

That’s the reality. It’s not that Harris doesn’t like government-based health care, it’s that he doesn’t like the US health care system. Neither do I. Maybe a Democrat is a Republican who had to wait a month for open enrollment.

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David Dayen

David Dayen