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Quote: GOP frosh: Where's my health care? By: Glenn Thrush November 15, 2010 09:54 PM EST
A conservative Maryland physician elected to Congress on an anti-Obamacare platform surprised fellow freshmen at a Monday orientation session by demanding to know why his government-subsidized health care plan takes a month to kick in.
Republican Andy Harris, an anesthesiologist who defeated freshman Democrat Frank Kratovil on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, reacted incredulously when informed that federal law mandated that his government-subsidized health care policy would take effect on Feb. 1 – 28 days after his Jan. 3rd swearing-in.
“He stood up and asked the two ladies who were answering questions why it had to take so long, what he would do without 28 days of health care,” said a congressional staffer who saw the exchange. The benefits session, held behind closed doors, drew about 250 freshman members, staffers and family members to the Capitol Visitors Center auditorium late Monday morning,”.
“Harris then asked if he could purchase insurance from the government to cover the gap,” added the aide, who was struck by the similarity to Harris’s request and the public option he denounced as a gateway to socialized medicine.
Harris, a Maryland state senator who works at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and several hospitals on the Eastern Shore, also told the audience, “This is the only employer I’ve ever worked for where you don’t get coverage the first day you are employed,” his spokeswoman Anna Nix told POLITICO.
Under COBRA law, Harris can pay a premium to extend his current health insurance an additional month.
Nix said Harris, who is the father of five, wasn’t being hypocritical – he was just pointing out the inefficiency of government-run health care.
Harris hammered Kratovil on health care throughout a bitter fall campaign, despite the fact that the conservative Democrat voted twice against the reform package backed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), a close Kratovil ally.
“Although he voted against Obamacare, Mr. Kratovil refuses to commit to its repeal. Dr. Harris understands that the Obama-Pelosi-Hoyer agenda threatens to pull the plug on America's long-term health," Harris said in an Oct. 30 statement. “"In Washington, I will never vote to raise taxes, I will fight to repeal health-care reform, and I will work to balance the budget."