Go to Politico for the whole story, here’s a sample…
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.
It saddens me that a physician would not have any interest in helping Americans who lack health insurance, but Dr.Harris is not the first or the only. Bill Frist is a surgeon. You’ll note that a surgeon and an anesthesiologist would not have to deal very much with patients who are conscious. An opthamologist, such as Dr.Rand Paul, would normally have Medicare patients as a base. So Dr.Harris discovering for the first time that the prospect of being uninsured is scary– well, that’s how the other half lives. But this is what really caught my attention…
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.
Welcome to my world, Dr.Harris. All of you who ever started a new job and waited three months and were glad to get insurance at all– raise your hands.
Talking Points Memo cites a large national study that backs up what we see everyday…
Most workers in this country have to wait weeks between their first day on the job and the day their health insurance kicks in. Sometimes more.
According to the 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation annual survey of employer-provided health benefits, most workers would be lucky to start a new job in Harris’ shoes.
“Seventy-four percent of covered workers face a waiting period before coverage is available. Covered workers in the Northeast are less likely (64%) than workers in other regions to face a waiting period.” the report reads. “The average waiting period among covered workers who face a waiting period is 2.2 months…. Thirty-one percent of covered workers face a waiting period of 3 months or more.”
Dr. Harris would have known this if he had ever grabbed a cup of cofffee in the break room and listened to the nurses, aides and housekeepers talk. Some of the Americans who are postponing care and hoping to get through those three months without a crisis are the same ones who provide care to others. I’ve seen it, and still see it.
Dr. Harris’ spokeswoman said that he was just pointing out the flaws in government health care. Right. It’s not fast enough and there are gaps in care that leave people uninsured. I hope he’ll work to reform that. I will.