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Rep. Sandy Adams still takes public health care while pushing for repeal of health reform

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While many Republicans in Congress have come under fire in recent months for railing against federal health care reform while simultaneously accepting government-subsidized health insurance, a handful have moved to more legitimately align themselves with their position by refusing to accept the benefits afforded to federal employees. #

One such representative is Sandy Adams, R-Oviedo, who calls for the repeal of health care reform and has turned down Congress’ health insurance plan. Adams, however, still receives taxpayer-subsidized health insurance through her husband, a Florida judge. #

As we reported last week, only about 6 percent of the 242 House Republicans who voted for repeal have turned down coverage from the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, yet even they continue extending benefits to their staff. #

Those who have opted out of the Health Benefits Program and find themselves at the will of the free market insurance industry say they are now facing the same $1,200 monthly out-of-pocket premiums and potential rate hikes that currently burden the average American family. #

Via Politico: #

“I have a niece who has pre-existing conditions, and I worry about her if she was ever to lose her job,” said Florida Rep. Richard Nugent, one of the freshman lawmakers who declined federal health insurance benefits. #

Every single House Republican voted to repeal the health care law last month. #

“I can simply, honestly say that this is going to impact my wife and I to a fairly serious degree, like it would any average American out there,” said first-time Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois. #

Walsh’s wife has a pre-existing condition and will need a procedure in the coming months, but because he declined federal benefits, they’re paying for it out of pocket. Meanwhile, Walsh is contributing to a health savings account to cover his expenses. #

Some in the GOP have offered up a host of excuses for accepting taxpayer-subsidized health care. Following his swearing in last month, Rep. Michael Grimm of New York explained his rationale to the New York Daily News: #

“What am I, not supposed to have health care?” he said. “It’s practicality. I’m not going to become a burden for the state because I don’t have health care, and God forbid I get into an accident and I can’t afford the operation. That can happen to anyone.” #

His comments prompted a quick response from Democrats: #

“It’s clear that Rep. Michael Grimm is the worst kind of hypocrite – one who protects health care for himself instead of his constituents,” said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Jesse Ferguson. “Rep. Grimm has become the latest Republican health care hypocrite to demand government-funded health care benefits for himself, while trying to repeal health care reform and make it harder for most Americans to afford coverage for their own families.” #

Florida Rep. Bill Posey, another Republican sticking to the repeal mantra while enjoying state-sponsored health care, recently questioned his status as a federal employee in an attempt to sidestep the issue: #

ThinkProgress recently spoke with Posey, who gained notoriety in 2009 for sponsoring the original “birther bill” in Congress. We asked the congressmen if he plans to turn down government-subsidized health insurance for himself in light of his push to repeal health care reform. His response: “I don’t know. Am I a federal employee?”

ThinkProgress followed up with Rep. Posey’s press secretary George Cecala. Mr. Cecala confirmed for us that Congressman Posey is, indeed, a federal employee. In addition, despite Posey’s attempts to evade the question, Mr. Cecala told us that the Florida Republican does accept government-subsidized and managed health care and has done so for his entire congressional career. When asked how the congressman would respond to the hypocrisy angle, Mr. Cecala told us “you can’t just single out members of Congress and then just ignore other federal employees who receive the same benefits.” #

Speaking to that issue, on Tuesday, a coalition of progressive groups released radio spots targeting a handful of congressional Republicans, including Rep. Sandy Adams, R-Oviedo.

While Adams has been vocal about her refusal to accept federal health insurance, her office confirmed to The Florida Independent Wednesday that she in fact receives insurance through her husband, Circuit Judge John Adams of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida. #

Lisa Boothe, Adams’ communications director, was hesitant to comment on the matter in a telephone interview. #

Boothe pointed out that Adams is not accepting congressional benefits. ”This is a personal decision her and her husband made,” she said. “Her office would really rather focus on replacing the current health care law with common-sense reform and getting the economy back on track and talking about jobs. Quite frankly I think this issue is kind of tired. The story has been around for a while.” #

Boothe repeatedly insisted the topic was not one her office was interested in talking about. #

“I don’t understand while you’re still writing a story about this issue,” she said. “It’s a little bit tired and old. This is not really an issue we want to be commenting on.” #

When pressed for clarification, Boothe acknowledged that Adams is currently receiving benefits through her husband’s state-sponsored health care package. #

“At this point, she and her husband are on her husband’s health insurance, but she is not accepting the congressional health care insurance,” Boothe said. “And as I’ve already said, this is not really something that I think is that newsworthy, and secondly is not a focus of the office.” #

When asked if her accepting insurance through her husband was hypocritical, given that as a state employee and circuit judge his position afforded their family benefits very much like those federal employees are entitled to, our interview ended. #

“That’s the extent that I would like to comment on this,” Boothe said. “I think you’re turning this into something else.” #

According to the Department of Management Services, the majority of state workers, those in the “career services” bracket, currently pay a premium of $50 per month for an individual plan and $180 for a family. Senior management employees pay $8.34 a month individually and the family premium is $30. #

Florida’s “My Benefits” website outlines the costs associated with HMO and PPO plans provided by the state. A standard HMO has no annual deductible, $20 doctor visits and a $3,000 annual out-of-pocket maximum for families — a far cry from what the average American pays for private health insurance. #

The House Energy and Commerce Committee released a report in January studying the effects of repealing the health care reform law, focusing on what the repercussions would be in Rep. Adams’ 24th congressional district alone, outlining “significant consequences” by, among other things, “allowing insurance companies to deny coverage to 129,000 to 333,000 individuals, including 9,000 to 39,000 children, with pre-existing conditions.” #

View the report in full: #

House Energy and Commerce Report on Repealing Health Care Law in Florida’s 24th Congressional District –

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