Nick Kristof: Members Of Congress Should 'Go Naked' On Health Insurance

As I discussed last week, members of Congress not only have great health insurance, they also have access to the superb on-site Office of the Attend

As I discussed last week, members of Congress not only have great health insurance, they also have access to the superb on-site Office of the Attending Physician for themselves and their family for a mere pittance. So of course they don't understand!

I think Nick Kristof makes a fine suggestion here and we should ask Congress to do it to show they're working in good faith:

Let me offer a modest proposal: If Congress fails to pass comprehensive health reform this year, its members should surrender health insurance in proportion with the American population that is uninsured.

It may be that the lulling effect of having very fine health insurance leaves members of Congress insensitive to the dysfunction of our existing insurance system. So what better way to attune our leaders to the needs of their constituents than to put them in the same position?

About 15 percent of Americans have no health insurance, according to the Census Bureau. Another 8 percent are underinsured, according to the Commonwealth Fund, a health policy research group. So I propose that if health reform fails this year, 15 percent of members of Congress, along with their families, randomly lose all health insurance and another 8 percent receive inadequate coverage.

Congressional critics of President Obama’s efforts to achieve health reform worry that universal coverage will be expensive, while their priority is to curb social spending. So here’s their chance to save government dollars in keeping with their own priorities.

Those same critics sometimes argue that universal coverage needn’t be a top priority because anybody can get coverage at the emergency room. Let them try that with their kids.

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