Monday, November 09, 2009

Tea Party Protesters Depend on Government-Run Healthcare

As a few thousand folks lined up to hear the Republican congressmen (most of whom were absent from actual committee votes on public policy) last week, some of those anti-healthcare bill protesters needed some emergency medical help from - gasp!! - government operated medicine providers.

One person suffered a heart attack and several others also needed medical care -- all of it provided by government medical personnel. Other protesters denouncing government-run healthcare likewise benefited from a service they despise, though none refused medical assistance from the Office of Attending Physicians who are always on hand to treat elected officials.

As for the work of the OAP:

Services offered by the Office of the Attending Physician include physicals and routine examinations, on-site X-rays and lab work, physical therapy and referrals to medical specialists from military hospitals and private medical practices. According to congressional budget records, the office is staffed by at least four Navy doctors as well as at least a dozen medical and X-ray technicians, nurses and a pharmacist.

Sources said when specialists are needed, they are brought to the Capitol, often at no charge to members of Congress.


"Members of Congress do not pay for the individual services they receive at the OAP, nor do they submit claims through their federal employee health insurance policies. Instead, members pay a flat, annual fee of $503 for all the care they receive. The rest of the cost of their care, sources said, is subsidized by taxpayers.

Last year, Congress appropriated more than $3 million to reimburse the Navy for staff salaries at the office. Next year's budget allocates $3.8 million for the office, including more than half a million dollars to upgrade the Office's radiology suite. Sources said additional money to operate the office is included in the Navy's annual budget.

In 2008, 240 members paid the annual fee, though some sources say congressmen who didn't pay the fee were rarely prevented from using OAP services"

Funny, but even elected officials who attended the rally say they love the medical care they receive while on Captiol Hill:

On a related note, I can't help but wonder how many of the lawmakers who spoke at yesterday's rally also like to stop by the Office of the Attending Physician -- the elaborate, government-run health care office conveniently located between the House and Senate chambers, staffed with a team of medical professionals who are "standing by, on-call and ready to provide Congress with some of the country's best and most efficient government-run health care."

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), for example, hates government-run, taxpayer-subsidized health care, but he just loves the Office of the Attending Physician on the Hill.

I don't imagine this came up during yesterday's speeches. I wonder why."

1 comment:

  1. james7:29 PM

    It seems to me we don't need health care reform as much as we need health coverage re form..Anything tis big should not be a thousand page rush jod,but instead a very deliberated,VERY public discussed approch.Would it not be easier to fund medicare for those who make under 35000.00 a year.The only problem with that is that lots of doctors won't fool with it because of low compensation.One fix for that is to let those who accept medicare is to let them deduct the cost of malpractice ins.Iam on medicare and the only reason I managed to see a doctor I neede was because my family DR. called in a favor from a friend of his.He don't take medicare but he did for me.I thinkthere are good ideas out there,but we are not hearing them.