by Bob Geary
I don't like piling on. If I were a field judge, guys diving helmet-first into a ball-carrier when he's flat on the ground would be thrown out of the game. So I hesitate to comment on the really stupid thing Congresswoman Renee Ellmers said — and did — when she decided to accept a taxpayer-funded health insurance policy. The N&O already let her have it this morning. By noon, the state Democratic Party was out with a blast ... quoting the N&O. Read 'em (Dems' statement is below the fold) and, if you voted for Ellmers, weep.
Here's my contribution: It's not too late, Ms. Ellmers, to announce that you made a mistake and want to rectify it by not accepting the gold-plated health care plan generously provided by taxpayers who — Ellmers says — have no right to an equivalent plan for themselves. In short, Just Walk Away Renee.
Think about it as you hum along with me. Ellmers could prove her humility — badly lacking in her statement that it's tough to get by on her $174K salary plus whatever her hubbie pulls in from his medical practice (hint: it's beaucoup).
"I screwed up," is all she'd have to say. "I said in my campaign that people don't have a right to health insurance, and though technically I do have a right to it as an exalted member of Congress, I can't in good conscience maintain that the government shouldn't subsidize health care and then turn around and let the government subsidize my health care. So I've decided to buy health insurance out of my own earnings — exactly what I told others to do when I was running for this office — and yes, I can afford to buy it since I'm loaded and my husband is too."
[Update: Lest we forget, here's what Ellmers said about health care in September, in an interview with the Clayton Star-News:
“I wish everybody could afford health insurance, but it’s got to be a priority in your life,” she said. “And over the last, well, going back to the Clinton administration, there’s the mind-set that health care should be free.”
She said she was opposed to having the government mandate that insurers must accept customers with pre-existing conditions.
“Let the private insurance companies decide how they’re going to handle the pre-existing conditions situation,” she said.
She also questioned whether all insurance customers should have to help pay for maternity care. The health-insurance industry typically considers pregnancy a pre-existing condition.
“Maternity coverage — that’s another one. … Should you have to pay for someone else’s [maternity care]? Maybe you’ve decided you’ve had your children, or maybe we have a 35-year-old female who’s had a hysterectomy. Should she have to pay maternity coverage? Maternity coverage is very costly,” Ellmers said.
She did say, however, that society had a responsibility to care for its neediest.
“We’ve got to take care of them. There’s a whole group of people that it is our responsibility to take care of — I don’t think anybody disputes that.”
Statement from the N.C. Democratic Party's Kerra Bolton:
Renee Ellmers Admits to Taking Congressional Health Care Plan, As She Votes to Deny Health Care to North Carolinians
Says she took the plan because it is “very expensive” to live off her $174,000 salary
Listen to Ellmers complain about the cost of serving the Second Congressional District here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOHzlWlPkPY
RALEIGH — During an interview with WPTF’s Bill LuMaye on Monday, U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers said that despite campaigning against the Affordable Care Act and voting to repeal access to quality, affordable health care for North Carolinians, that she herself had taken the federal health care plan offered to members of Congress because “being here in Washington is very expensive” and “people need to understand out there it costs a lot of money to be here in Congress.” Ellmers makes $174,000 as a member of Congress and her husband is a physician. In 2009, the median househould income in the 2nd Congressional District was estimated at $42,169.
“It’s unbelievable just how out of touch Renee Ellmers is with working North Carolinians, claiming it’s hard to make ends meet on her taxpayer funded salary of $174,000-a-year,” said David Young, Chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party. “It’s so tough that she had to accept a health care plan provided to Congress, also paid in part for by taxpayers, that is nearly identical to the type of plan she has voted to deny millions of Americans. Even though Renee Ellmers finds it hard to pay for health care on her $174,000 salary, she doesn’t want North Carolinians to have access to the same quality health care plan she has.”
Just last Wednesday, Ellmers voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which provides North Carolinians with access to quality, affordable health care.
Ellmers supports health care - for herself
Under the Dome, Raleigh News & Observer
January 25, 2011
Although U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers campaigned in the fall as an ardent opponent of the new health care law recently passed by Congress, she was not reticent about taking advantage of the health plan offered to members of Congress.
Appearing on a WPTF radio call-in show Monday, Ellmers was asked by a caller whether she intended to participate in "that luxury plan" offered to members of Congress.
Ellmers responded that she signed up for a Blue Cross, Blue Shield federal employees plan, one of the options offered to members of Congress.
"Unfortunately, being here in Washington is very expensive," Ellmers said. "Yes, we do have a salary, and we do have benefits. It costs a lot of money to be here. I've signed on to the private plan, just like so many in America are on. "The benefit is available to me. People need to understand out there, it costs a lot of money to be here in Congress."
Ellmers, a nurse who is married to a physician, makes a congressional salary of $174,000 per year.
Read more: http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/01/25/942349/ellmers-supports-health-care-for.html#ixzz1C3seORpR