- Christopher Halloran/Shutterstock
- Rep. Paul Ryan hasn't helped make reform happen
Here’s how we can finally get Congress to pass such a program: Step One — take away every dime of the multimillion-dollar government subsidy that members of Congress get to cover their platinum-level health insurance. Let them have to live with the same exorbitantly expensive, dysfunctional, and (let’s admit it) sick system of medical profiteering they’ve thrust on us. Eliminate all of their special treatments, including shutting down their “Office of the Attending Physician,” a little-known spot of pure, 100-percent socialized medicine conveniently located in our U.S. Capitol to provide government-paid doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others who give immediate, on-the-spot attention to these special ones.
Well, you might say, they still won’t feel the pain, because they’re 1-percenters, pulling down $174,000 a year each from us taxpayers, meaning they can afford to buy decent health insurance. Ah, but here comes Step Two — put all of our congressional goof-offs on pay-for-performance salaries. Why pay them a flat rate whether they produce or not? For example, American babies are one-third more likely to die in their first year of life than babies in Poland, which provides universal health insurance for all of its people. So, every year that the U.S. Congress fails to provide health coverage for every American family, the members should get their pay docked by a third. Pay them only when they deliver for the people.
When Congress finally assures good health care for all of us, then its members would get the same coverage. But until they deliver for the whole public, the public owes them nothing.
You can contact Hightower at jimhightower.com.