GOP: Congress should enroll in public plan

Nov. 4, 2009 at 6:09 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- U.S. lawmakers backing a public health insurance option for citizens should be required to enroll in it themselves, House Republicans say.

Five representatives -- John Fleming and Steve Scalise, both of Louisiana; Joe Wilson of South Carolina, Phil Gingrey of Georgia and Wally Herger of California -- proposed an amendment that would bar lawmakers from participating in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, their current insurer, The Hill reported Wednesday.

Instead, members would have to use the health insurance exchange and the public option plan House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other House Democratic leaders proposed in their latest healthcare reform effort.

"If Speaker Pelosi and her Democratic counterparts truly believe that their government insurance option is the best way forward for healthcare in the United States, then they should be fully supportive of amending the bill to ensure that every single member of Congress, both in the House and Senate, is enrolled in it," Gingrey said.

Gingrey said the amendment "simply says those who plan to vote for the public plan will also commit to joining their constituents in the public plan. To do any less smacks of hypocrisy and highlights the lack of Democratic leadership that exists here in Washington."

Republicans first offered such an amendment when the House Energy and Commerce Committee considered its version of health reform. Democrats defeated the move, the Washington publication said.

Gingrey and his colleagues said they hope to add their amendment to the bill before lawmakers vote on it.

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