Elected representatives have their own special health care plan. If this health care plan is made into law, will you support a law requiring all elected representatives to live with and under the same restrictions and rules as the rest of the people in the U.S. If not, why would you even consider the plan for the rest of us?
Qusi al-Haj, West River Regional Director for Senator John Thune answered first.
My boss Senator Thune feels what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. There has been an amendment introduced in the Senate along the same lines which would basically require senators, if this public plan or if this health care reform passes with the public option in it, that the senators would switch to that plan. I’m not sure if the House had the same thing. I think a similar amendment was introduced in the House and it failed.
Megan Scott Smith, Legislative Assistant to Senator Tim Johnson, answered next.
Firstly I also want to make the point that you make an excellent point that as a federal employee I have great coverage. I have great options for coverage, the same coverage that senate members have. Part of this effort is to extend to those people that don’t currently have access to that coverage for a myriad of reasons whether it be affordable access, whether it be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition…very many issues prevent people from having access to coverage. So this is an effort to ensure people have access to the same meaningful benefits that myself and Senator Johnson and Senator Thune have access to.
When she finished, Citizens for Liberty Gordon Howie said, “Megan, I am going to take liberty with a follow up question. My question to you is, I’m not sure you answered the question: Will Senator Johnson support a bill that gives him the same kind of health care that other Americans would have.”
It’s impossible to make comments on a bill that doesn’t exist yet in the Senate, but I do want to say that the effort we’re trying to get to is that you will have access to the same benefits.
The crowd indicated it did not like this response from Megan.
Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin’s Field Director Rick Hanson was present but did not come prepared to answer questions.