Freshman Rep. pledges to forgo federal health insurance
January 4th, 2011
02:39 PM ET
3 years ago

Freshman Rep. pledges to forgo federal health insurance

Washington (CNN) - As House Republicans prepare to introduce a repeal of the health care reform bill, one new GOP congressman said he is standing by his pledge to forgo federal health insurance despite a potentially expensive personal impact.

Rep.-elect Joe Walsh, R-Illinois, told CNN's Jim Acosta that he and his wife will not accept the insurance offered to members of Congress because he made a pledge during the campaign last January.

"My wife and I are going to struggle a little bit because of it. But I was sent to Washington to do what I said I was going to do," Walsh said in an interview on American Morning.

"I don't want to burden the American taxpayer with my health care bill. The federal government is my employer. Right now, the health care system has a real bias against folks who need to shop out there in the individual market," Walsh said.

The Illinois Republican's wife has a preexisting condition that Walsh said will make finding insurance difficult.

"My wife and I now are going to have to go through the struggles that a lot of Americans go through, trying to find insurance in the individual market and having to deal with problems of preexisting conditions."

The health care reform bill that passed last year includes a provision that will be phased in barring insurance companies from denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions, but Walsh said he nonetheless opposes "virtually the entire bill."

Walsh said what's needed is "a change in mindset."

"We just don't want to get into a system where people can purchase insurance and then drop insurance whenever they want to. That's not - that's not going to help the system at all."

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Filed under: GOP • Health care • TV-American Morning
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Apples

    Well, this is about the dumbest thing I've read all year.

    January 4, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  2. FREEDOM

    Thank you Rep. Walsh!!! Your true dedication to the American people is shown. May God Bless You for your sacrifice!!!

    January 4, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  3. bearced

    Well done Mr. Walsh, but If you think it will cause a hardship for you, imagine trying to buy insurance on 20,000 a year!

    January 4, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. RAS

    Representative Walsh seems to be deeply confused. On the one hand, he thinks it's going to be hard to find private insurance due to his wife's pre-existing condition, even though the dreaded Obamacare law prohibits insurers from rejecting people with pre-existing conditions. At the same time, he wants to prevent people from gaming the system by buying insurance only when they need care and dropping it when they do not, which is precisely what the individual mandate - which the GOP professes to hate with a vengeance - prevents from happening.

    Deeply, deeply confused. Or, equally likely, just a very stupid person.

    January 4, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  5. kat

    Sounds pretty stupid to me.

    January 4, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  6. BobInIrvine

    Ah, so this bozo (as a publicity stunt) claims that he's suffering the slings and arrows of pre-existing conditions, yet in the same breath expresses his opposition to the reform that outlawed denial based on pre-existing conditions?

    And he wants us all to suffer? Wow, thanks Tea Party!!!

    January 4, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  7. Katie

    Well done Mr. Walsh. Perhaps now you can convince the other hypocrits in the republican party to do the same.

    January 4, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  8. Roland

    OK! Everyone who makes 175K per year has to buy their own health insurance. Wow, this guy is really making a tough statement...... Please! He did not mention any kids? Hmmm... What would the cost be for a family of 4? Now, what about the millions of American families that make less than 50K who end up in the emergency room and we pay for their health care anyway?

    January 4, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  9. usualone

    EVERYONE should have the right to health care. People who have pre-existing conditions should not be punished. It speaks volumes that Republicans show their lack of care for their fellow citizens. This Congressman is being unfair to his wife and does not set a good example.

    January 4, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    Well good for him...he found a way to remove the cognitive dissonance from his nincompoopery while still retaining full nincompoop status.

    January 4, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  11. Video Guy

    Oh, I am so impressed. I still will not vote for a Republican again in this lifetime. He is putting his family at risk,

    January 4, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  12. sane citizen

    As should every single one of them that wants to take it away from the millions of Americans who need it!

    January 4, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  13. vin

    And this guy loves his wife?

    January 4, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  14. lynn

    Can I assume he doesn't have any children with asthma, diabetes, cancer or any other life threatening diseases that the child can survive, but never be insurable? Nor does he have a child in college, and without insurance after 21. He's not thinking of anything except his own political career, typical Republican politician.

    January 4, 2011 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  15. dhp

    "My wife and I now are going to have to go through the struggles that a lot of Americans go through, trying to find insurance in the individual market and having to deal with problems of preexisting conditions." Sure. Set aside the $175k salary and you're just a common American.

    January 4, 2011 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  16. cgrollny

    The ability to purchase insurance and then drop insurance whenever people want to is what makes companies competitive and puts the consumer in the drivers seat. We don't need to help the system we need to help the consumer.

    I hope someone follows up on his threat to pull out of the Government's healthcare plan.

    January 4, 2011 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  17. Monster Zero

    This is a great first step to walk the walk in an effort to fix our failed system.
    Perhaps the Constitutional Amendment that we should ALL truly be looking at with regard to Congress:
    Amendment XXVII No law varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened...

    Apply that to your own job...wouldn't it be nice to give yourself a raise every year and add a $92,000 a year expense account on top of your salary, pension plan and healthcare. What? You don't have a job, pension plan or healthcare?

    The founding fathers would be leading the charge!

    January 4, 2011 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    What an idiot!!

    January 4, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  19. Dumb and Dumber Boenner and Cantor

    THIS IS A MESSAGE FOR REPUBLICAN GOP-TEA PARTY!!!

    REPEAL YOUR OWN TAX-PAYING GOVT. FUNDED HEALTH CARE INSURANCE before REPEALING HEALTHCARE for ALL Americans!!!

    "WE THE PEOPLE" are PAYING for your "SOCIALIST" Healthcare PROVIDED to Congressmen by the US GOVT!!!!!

    January 4, 2011 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  20. Brian

    I'm going to forgo police and fire protection too because those are also commodities.

    January 4, 2011 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  21. kenhp1

    This man is probably rich as hell and could care less if he has no insurance. This is just another stunt to let the poor die due to the lack of healthcare. I am a RN/RRT and did home care for many years. Therefore, I have seen this happen FIRST HAND!!!
    I consider myself financially conservative. Before caring for the poor and under served I would have most likely been dead set against this reform.
    However, I cannot sit by and see people die and suffer because they cannot afford healthcare, drugs, and other necessities of life.
    There was one elderly couple in particular that stands out. I had stopped for lunch and mentioned it to them. They ask me if I would buy them something to eat. It was the end of the month and they had no money or food. I promptly contacted resources and supplied them with what they needed. Their medication cost was more than their social security check.
    Really, it would have brought anybody to tears. Therefore, I am for reform to ensure my fellow Americans never see themselves in this plight. I beg you to look into your heart and think about this. No one should ever have to face this dilemma.

    January 4, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  22. Duck Fallas

    I'm not sure what point this clown's trying to make- it seems he's endorsing health care reform. Nice guy, though, putting his wife's health at risk to make a stupid gesture.

    January 4, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  23. willie floyd

    Any other GOP'ers joining in??? Probably not.

    January 4, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. Pennsylvania Super Patriot Deluxe

    There is no way on the planet this clown is going to have a "struggle" to find health insurance. he will just get a sweetheart policy because of his influence. what i would like to find out is afterwards, how good a deal did he get? was it what a normal citizen would get? if not, i hope the insurance company gets sued by those they who did not have access to the same policy.

    January 4, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  25. marylourose

    ...so let me get this straight.... he refuses a bill that can help him? Right...

    January 4, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
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