Andy Harris learned about the value of freedom from his parents who "fled Communist invasion after World War Two, joining hundreds of thousands of other refugees fleeing the totalitarian Soviet regime. Like so many others, they saw America as President Reagan's 'shining city on a hill', and came here to build a new life with literally nothing more than the clothes on their backs."
Before running for political office, Harris served his country well:
Andy has devoted his life to hard work, giving back, and fighting to preserve the freedoms envisioned by our founders and framed in our constitution. Andy served 17 years in the United States Naval Reserve, including active duty during Desert Storm. He served as Commanding Officer of the Johns Hopkins Naval Reserve Medical Unit, and is a member of the American Legion. He achieved the rank of Commander.
Harris continues to serve his country and he is now the U.S. Representative-elect for Maryland's 1st congressional district.
As a physician, Andy Harris knows what's wrong with health care in America. His prescriptions for market-based health care reforms are clearly in the mainstream:
...there are a few things I think we can all agree on: covering those who can't afford insurance, lowering costs, making sure you don't lose your insurance if you change jobs and covering pre-existing conditions.
In fact, his views tilt a bit to the left in at least one area:
Creating a health care "exchange," one of the better ideas included in House Bill 3200, creates affordable, accessible and portable insurance for millions of Americans. An "exchange" would allow everyone to choose their health care insurance from a broad range of options -- just like federal employees and Congress do right now...
Harris is clearly NOT an anti-government extremist when it comes to health care insurance. In fact, he's only slightly right-of-center. But when Andy Harris showed up to Congress on Monday for freshman orientation, he was immediately confronted with another obvious failure of government-administered, taxpayer-subsidized health insurance:
Republican Andy Harris ... 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. The benefits session, held behind closed doors, drew about 250 freshman members, staffers and family members to the Capitol Visitors Center auditorium late Monday morning,”.“Harris then asked if he could purchase insurance from the government to cover the gap,” added the aide, who was struck by the similarity to Harris’s request and the public option he denounced as a gateway to socialized medicine.
Similar to the public option? Uh... no, not at all! It's exactly like H. R. 3200's health insurance exchange, the one Harris explicitly supported while running for Congress.
It's unfortunate that Andy's uber-liberal critics are intellectually incapable of understanding the function of a rhetorical question. For their benefit, I'll provide video of remarks from Congressman-elect Harris:
I have insurance, and I have the ability to have insurance. But for anyone else who gets a job — and again, the irony that the federal government would go to the American people (and most importantly, our employers) and say that you have to provide insurance — and yet when our federal employees get hired, if they don't get hired on the right day of the month, they actually have to go without insurance for a while...
(Perhaps the glaring deficiencies of government-administered health care inspired Obama to hand out ObamaCare waivers to his best friends, including the ones who campaigned for ObamaCare.)
For the record, Andy Harris has health insurance coverage through the Johns Hopkins medical system. His coverage will not expire before his new Congressional benefits take effect.
Harris's comments come as no surprise to those are familiar with his long-held positions on health insurance reform. Here's a quote from September of 2009, published on Andy's campaign website:
People [should] have a health care insurance policy they can call their own. They could choose one that exactly fits their families' needs and their budgets, be able to take that coverage with them from job to job...
Liberals twist out of context virtually everything conservatives say in order to create the illusion of controversy and hypocrisy where none exists. They use this Alinskyite strategy as a way to shut us up and "raise the cost on the right of going after the left."
Liberal politicians and liberal journalists manufacture opportunities to grab conservatives and and rhetorically "smash [them] through a plate-glass window." They then "take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear."
Examples of this hateful technique:
- Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Playboy) et. al: "We also find it interesting that members of the Republican conference would have no problem taking away health coverage from hard-working Americans, but expect expanded coverage for themselves and their families."
- Ethan Rome: Tone-deaf lawmaker-elect Andy Harris should apologize to Maryland, denounce repeal effort.
- Michael J.W. Stickings: "...what he's saying is, '[f**k] the millions and millions of Americans who either don't have adequate coverage or don't have coverage at all. [F**k] 'em. All that matters is me!'"
- Physicians for a National Health Program: "Our medical school admissions committees need to set the bar higher. All applicants accepted should meet the standard of possessing common decency. Too bad Andy Harris snuck through."
- Baltimore Sun: "What a doofus. He missed a golden opportunity to take a stand on principle. He could have announced he wasn't taking taxpayer-subsidized health insurance because he didn't believe in such things, picked up his welcome bag and walked out of the meeting."
There's absolutely nothing wrong with conservatives taking jobs that serve legitimate, constitutionally-mandated government functions. And when a conservative takes a paid government position, there's no hypocrisy or irony in expecting timely dispensation of the compensation package that comes with his or her job.
But Dr. Harris' personal health care needs are not what this controversy is all about. Harris's controversial comments vividly illustrate the undesirability of benefits "provided" by government and they furnish another powerful argument against more government intrusion into the private health care industry.
Let's stand up for ObamaCare critics when they are smeared.
Hat Tip: Memeorandum