Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rant - Do Federal Employees Deserve Better Healthcare Coverage than their Constituents?

This Rant is in response to the latest reporting regarding Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her remarkable recovery.

First let me emphasize that I believe this shooting was a tragedy for G. Gifford and all of the victim families.

However, that said, as I watched the news media follow Rep. Giffords as she was taken aboard a private jet to a private and reportedly expensive rehabilitation facility I wondered about the statement that was being made to American's about the health insurance coverage that she has, either from her job as a Congresswoman, or through her husband's job with NASA. Either way, these are government jobs. Yet their health care seems to exceed any "normal" coverage, benefits, or lifetime spending limits. 

So while our elected representatives debate so called "Obama-Care" and specifically the nationalization of health insurance, I wonder if they have ever experienced being denied health coverage by the current private health care companies because of "preexisting" conditions? As an individual, self employed or small business owner, have they ever applied for family coverage and discovered that because their child has diabetes or was prescribed acne medicine as a teenager they are denied health care for life? Or has their wife ever had a C-section, and then been denied for a 'preexisting condition? Rheumatoid arthritis? Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma? A child with Leukemia?

Have they ever been told that their teenage boy's ribs are developing abnormally and as a result their right lung is being strangled? And their husband is a week away from being laid off and their biggest concern isn't that they will not be able to pay rent, but that they will not be able to see the specialist their pediatrician referred the week prior, when they did have insurance?

A couple years ago when the SNAP (formerly Food Stamp) program benefits were being discussed several members of Congress voluntarily limited their personal spending to the limits of the program. Their conclusions were as expected, shock and enlightenment about the shortcomings of the program. 

I propose that all members of Congress (House + Senate) try to enroll themselves and their families into individual health care programs to see what they learn. How many will find that their families or members are denied? How would their experience effect their views on so called "Obama-Care" and nationalized insurance?

Granted, this is a small part of the monstrous issue of health insurance, medical costs, and the related industries, however it is a start of a conversation that needs to be had and better understood by those who will ultimately make a decision for all Americans and their families. 
Again, I'd like to state that I am NOT a hater... I wish Rep Giffords a speedy and full recovery from her injuries. In fact, I think her progress is a beacon of light for other's with traumatic brain injuries, including the thousands of returning Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, who, I surmise do not have access to the wonderful rehabilitation care that Rep Giffords has.

Please, consider these issues and, whether you agree, disagree, or think I am horrible to even consider this topic...let's get the conversation started.

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