Waiting For Health Care

DANI ALEXIS RYSKAMP: Freshman GOP Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) put his foot in his mouth the other day by insisting to know why he had to wait 28 days for his health benefits to kick in. But give the guy a break: not only did he lodge his foot in his mouth, but now he has to wait four weeks for his podiatrist to dig it out.

Like most of the world, my first thought was “you seriously did not know you have to wait for your health benefits to kick in?” Anecdote: I had to wait an entire year for my health benefits to kick in at my first freshly-minted-bachelors’-degree job, which basically meant they never kicked in because it took me exactly four weeks to figure out that job and I were not meant to be. Even years later and considerably further up the food chain at a law firm, I had to wait 31 days.

And I am not, apparently, the only one. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, we working schlubs wait an average of 2.2 months for health coverage after starting a new job. Nearly one-third of we working schlubs wait three months or longer. And the Kaiser Family Foundation doesn’t even mention those who work indefinitely at part-time or low-wage jobs and who never receive health insurance at all.

See, Rep. Harris, I’d be completely sympathetic toward your ignorance if I had reason to believe you had only ever worked grueling jobs that provided no living wage or benefits like health insurance. But you’re a physician. Surely your health insurance didn’t kick in on day 1 while you were in private practice either?

HOWARD MEGDAL: When the liberal media bias nonsense is perpetrated, I often think about stories like these, and how little we hear about them. I guess the theory goes that when a story like this is buried, but Park51 turns into a month-long conversation about whether Muslims=terrorists, that’s just the liberal media covering its tracks?

No matter; if the echo chamber won’t cooperate, it is up to the Democrats to be their own megaphone. Once this happened, not a day should have gone by without the Democrats referencing it. And lest you think this is just a silly political game, it isn’t. The larger essence of what led the Democrats to pass health care reform in the first place is buried within.

Harris, at the end of the day, is frightened by the prospect of being without health insurance. And he revolted at the prospect of waiting even 28 days for his. Let Americans see the GOP nonsense over health insurance for what it is. Are you listening, Democratic-leaning groups looking to spend outside money on the next election?

Incredibly, the Republicans managed to sweep into power in the House, make gains in the Senate and in state governments around the country, largely without paying any price for advocating that those with plenty get even more in these dire economic times. Every time Democrats have a chance to point this out, they must.

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