POLITICS
08/09/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Rep. John Fleming Asks His Colleagues To 'Put Their Money Where Their Mouth Is' On Health Care

Louisiana Rep. John Fleming (R) has put up a guest post at TownHall, in which he professes to be "amazed at the number of bureaucrats in this House who are quick to claim a government-run health care plan is the reform this country needs." I'm not sure why he's so amazed by this. The public option is astoundingly popular with the American people. I'm rather amazed that so many of the people's representatives, on both sides of the aisle, seem to be ignorant of this.

That said, Fleming makes a good point here:

In response to this, I have offered a resolution that will offer members of Congress an opportunity to put their money where their mouth is, and urge their colleagues who vote for legislation creating a government-run health care plan to lead by example and enroll themselves in the same public plan.

Under the current draft of the Democrat health care legislation, members of Congress are curiously exempt from the government-run health care option, keeping their existing health plans and services on Capitol Hill. If Members of Congress believe so strongly that government-run health care is the best solution for hard working American families, I think it only fitting that Americans see them lead the way. Public servants should always be accountable and responsible for what they are advocating, and I challenge the American people to demand this from their representatives.

I can definitely see the merits in this. Legislators should lead by example, and it would be comforting to see some of them throwing in their lot with the American people.

But turnabout is fair play, isn't it? If public servants should "always be accountable and responsible for what they are advocating," then those who believe that the current health care system and health insurance models truly are "the best in the world," should jolly well forswear the insurance plan they receive from the taxpayers and join the rest of us in the world of private insurance. There are over 1,000 options from which to choose!

See, to my mind, one of the problems we face as Congress crafts these policies for the rest of us, is that Congresscritters are a terribly overcoddled class of people. Their needs are provided for by us, and they've added a ton of advantages that all but assure their re-election. And even on the rare occurrence where they lose their jobs, there's a whole panoply of welfare awaiting them in the worlds of lobbying and corporate boards and think tanks. Unlike most U.S. citizens, they live in what can accurately be described as a consequence-free environment, and I think the country would be far better off if our elected officials and their families were the first to be drafted in war, and the last to be insured in health.

So, this Fleming fellow's call for his colleagues to demonstrate some stern stuff moves me, powerfully! Here's my email, you private insurance fans in Congress! Please drop me a line and tell me all about how you're going to give up your Congressional benefits and enroll in private insurance. You public option supporters should do the same! Let me know, and I shall very proudly publicize your commitment to the world.

Representative Fleming, why don't you start?

[H/T: Sahil Kapur]

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