By Glenn Thrush
November 16, 2010
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 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.
Harris, a Maryland state senator who works at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and several hospitals on the Eastern Shore, also told the audience, “This is the only employer I’ve ever worked for where you don’t get coverage the first day you are employed,” his spokeswoman Anna Nix told Politico.
Harris said in an Oct. 30 statement, “In Washington, I will never vote to raise taxes, I will fight to repeal health-care reform, and I will work to balance the budget.”
By Don McCanne, MD
Freshman Congressman Andy Harris, a physician, certainly understands the importance of health insurance. He is incensed that the government would make him wait until the month following the onset of his employment for his insurance benefits to begin, even though that is standard in both the public and private sectors. Actually he does not have to face a lapse in insurance coverage since another government program, COBRA, guarantees that he will be able to extend his previous insurance through the month of January.
But what about our citizens who are uninsured? The 30 million or so who would become insured under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act? He says he will “fight to repeal health care reform.” And we already know that the proposals that he and his Republican colleagues support instead would insure only about 3 million people.
He, a physician, demands his taxpayer-financed health care at the same time that he fought to become a government steward and will use that position to deny tens of millions of Americans their health care. A physician!
No. A real politically-empowered physician would use that power to see that financial barriers to health care would be removed for everyone.
Our medical school admissions committees need to set the bar higher. All applicants accepted should meet the standard of possessing common decency. Too bad Andy Harris snuck through.