Politico's Ben Smith reports:
New York Senator Chuck Schumer is pushing Republican members of Congress who oppose last year's health care legislation to decline health coverage for themselves and their families...."Will Eric Cantor urge every Republican who is going to be for repeal to not take government health care themselves and to drop their existing health care?" he asked.
Schumer's comments come as a response to the release of Cantor's repeal bill and the promise by freshman Rep.-elect Joe Walsh, R-Ill., that he would reject the congressional health plan. Walsh's decision notwithstanding, this resembles the sophomoric argument that conservative voters should reject coverage and payments from Social Security and Medicare, entitlement programs to which they spend their entire working lives contributing, on the grounds that they would like to see them repealed. It is as illogical and futile as asking liberals to surrender their entire salaries to the government because they believe in creating a more robust government through higher taxation.
The system we have is one in which employers provide health care as part of compensation. That's the reality, the result of policies enacted some 70 years ago. One result is that most Americans are dependent on their employers for insurance. It is not as easy to obtain it elsewhere as it would be otherwise, and there are additional tax disadvantages to doing so. This means that people who work for government would be at a great disadvantage in purchasing health insurance, were they to turn down the insurance that their employer -- the government -- offers.
If Schumer is going to argue that conservatives should forego employer health coverage from the government, he might as well challenge them to reject their salaries as well. While he's at it, he can argue that if they really want to limit government, they should have begun by not running for Congress and becoming part of government. It would make just as much sense.