Tie Congress’s Paychecks to Our Good Health
By Nicholas Kristof
The New York Times, June 29, 2017
Members of Congress are paid $174,000 a year, while members of Poland’s lower house of Parliament are paid $32,300 a year.
Hmm. It looks as if we’re getting ripped off. Members of Congress seem to underperform compared to members of Parliament in Poland and across the democratic world.
Conservatives are right to worry that feeding at the government trough breeds dependency and laziness. So I suggest we introduce pay for performance, using metrics like, say, health.
I cite Poland because so many Poles (including the Krzysztofowicz family, later renamed Kristof) came to America for a better life, yet today American babies are one-third more likely to die in their first year of life than Polish children are (and twice as likely as Italian, Portuguese and Czech babies!).
Meanwhile, the U.S. spends far more on health care — an average of nearly $10,000 per person — than other countries do. Poland spends just $1,680 per person.
This is a stain on America. Choose almost any modern country, and its people pay less for health care and its children are more likely to survive.
In short, we as taxpayers are getting cheated.
But ultimately the United States should follow the example of every other advanced country and ensure health coverage for all. “We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” President Trump promised a week before taking office. Now he backs plans that would lead to 22 million fewer people having coverage. But if Taiwan, Slovenia, Spain, Japan and just about every other modern country can have coverage for everyone, so can we.
And, members of Congress, here’s the deal: If you ever adopt Medicare for all, I’ll endorse a pay-for-performance pay raise for all of you along with guaranteed, subsidized health insurance.
Oh, never mind. That, you already have.
By Don McCanne, M.D.
Right now many members of Congress are fighting the concept that health care should be an entitlement (some would say a right). Not only do they offer no realistic assistance for the 28 million who remain uninsured, some members are supporting policies that would cause another 22 million to lose their insurance. If they really believe that not everyone is entitled to have insurance then why do most of us believe that these well paid members of Congress are somehow entitled to generous health care plans, largely funded by us taxpayers?
I could write much more about this, but isn’t that observation enough? Some deserve health care at our expense and others don’t?
A benefit for the privileged? An entitlement? A right? For a few? For everyone?
Do we really have to play rhetorical games to come to the conclusion that everyone should have health care? If we believe that, and most Americans do, then we need to hire members of Congress who agree with us and get rid of those members who think that they are more entitled to health care than the rest of us.
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