No More Socialized Medicine for Congress

John Edwards probably doesn’t stand a chance of getting elected. The rightwing smear machine will have a field day with his “pretty boy” image, and millions of gullible voters will fall for it.

But Edwards has made a campaign pledge: If Congress doesn’t pass his plan for universal health care, he’ll take away Congress’ health coverage. Ah heck, they won’t mind. After all, it’s Socialized Medicine. You don’t even get to choose your own doctor. And why should taxpayers keep giving away their hard-earned money to these leeches anyway? Members of Congress will finally have a chance to get out there and hustle just like the rest of us.

Members of Congress have made periodic soundbites about receiving the same “socialized medicine” that nobody else should have. But as far as I know, this is the first time a presidential candidate has turned this issue into a campaign pledge.

Edwards said: “There’s no excuse for politicians in Washington to have heathcare, but America doesn’t have healthcare, and I think we have to shake this place up a little bit. What we would do is we would submit legislation saying if universal healthcare is not passed by this summer, that the Congress and members of the administration would lose their healthcare coverage.”

This same article has a video of Edwards’ speech and a PDF file that gives the details of his healthcare plan. Check it out.

21 Responses to “No More Socialized Medicine for Congress”

  1. christopher Radulich Says:

    Sounds good to me. Maybe we could also take away their pensions and give then a 401 k.

  2. me Says:

    I hate to break this to you (and to Edwards) but the president has absolutely no power to either allow Congress to keep its health coverage or to take it away from them. Edwards won’t get elected but it will have nothing to do with the Republicans painting him a pretty boy. It will be because he’s a moron who apparently thinks he has the power to take Congress’s health coverage from them.

  3. Christopher Radulich Says:

    Actually I sometimes wonder exactly what a president can do by executive order. Lately they seem to be doing things somewhat dictitorial and I do not only mean bush.

    However I was thinking more of the bully pulpit and getting legislation sponsored. I also realize that odds on this are somewhere between 0 & nil of this actually happening.

  4. Jersey McJones Says:

    Edwards would have a problem with his plan had it the chance to be effected or debated in the nationals - the GOPer(s) would say, “Fine, let’s get local, state, private plans (on the dole) instead! After all, we just know the private sector always works better…”

    But, he does have a clever device here. It could and should be more meaty. He somehow needs to tie it more directly to the real goal - No more private health insurance for us. He’d REALLY have my vote on THAT. Hell, I’d start knocking on doors right now, and I can be surprisingly convincing in person.

    JMJ

  5. Jersey McJones Says:

    Ah! I have it! This is what he needs to say…

    “I’ve been thinking about this plan, and I have an even better idea. I don’t, after all, want to see any American without healthcare, so I’ll offer the congress this - medicaid for all of you until we have a system of coverage for every American.”

    JMJ

  6. me Says:

    Jersey,

    What clause of the Constitution gives a president power to, in your words, “offer the congress” anything at all in the way of health care, medicaid or otherwise? We have a government of enumerated powers. Presidents don’t have the power to do what you suggest and no presidential candidate who would say what you suggest should be allowed anywhere near the White House. Such a candidate needs to go back to grade school for civics lessons.

    Apparently you could benefit from such lessons yourself.

    Craig R. Harmon

  7. Jersey McJones Says:

    Craig, the FEHB is ruin by the Office of Personnel Management, which is an EXECUTIVE, ADMINISTRATIVE office. The president could simply refuse to sign off on their budget and that would be the end of that. There is also plenty of leeway for the president to decide how to run the program. Besides, the president may suggest anything he damn well likes.

    Know your government, Craig.

    JMJ

  8. me Says:

    Jersey,

    Oh. So he would just shut down the federal government by refusing to sign any budget that included money for their health care. Good Idea. How long do you suppose that would last? Sorry, Jersey, that would be the end of exactly nothing.

    Craig R. Harmon

  9. me Says:

    Of course the President can suggest any damn, fool thing but he is also bound by the Constitution to faithfully execute the laws of the land, including the laws that established Congress’ health care coverage.

  10. me Says:

    FactCheck.org fact-checks Edwards and finds that, of course, Edwards’ threat is empty as Social Security’s lock-box.

  11. me Says:

    And if you don’t believe FactCheck.org, How about Newsweek.

  12. me Says:

    Ick. Newsweek merely reprinted the article at FactCheck.org. I hate when I put up multiple sources that turn out to be the same source reprinted at different sites. I apologize for that.

  13. me Says:

    Then there’s Cass Sunstein, Law Prof. at University of Chicago’s Law School and famous Constitutional Law expert, reported at Politico. He calls it a stunt. The only constitutional avenue “President” Edwards would have would be to put forth would be recommending and lobbying for legislation. You can guess how that legislation would go over in Congress. But even if Congress decided to go along, that would hardly be described as President Edwards “strip[ping]” Congress of its health care coverage. That would be Congress stripping itself of its own coverage.

  14. Paul Watson Says:

    Craig,
    Don’t all Presidential candidates promise things that are not in their enumerated powers? Did Bush actually implement the tax cuts he promised, or was that done via Congress? If the latter, then Edwards’ threat would be implemented the same way and is no different.
    I’m just not sure why this has got you so worked up. From my limited view, every candidate is promising things that are nothing to do with the President’s powers. Unless he’s suddenly become responsible directly for healthcare, that is.

  15. me Says:

    Paul,

    You ask: “Did Bush actually implement the tax cuts he promised, or was that done via Congress?” It’s all in how you look at it. Technically, as chief (indeed, unitary) executive officer, he executes (which, I would guess, is fairly synonymous with ‘implements’; my dictionary lists ‘execute’ as the first meaning of ‘implement’) ALL laws, including tax cuts and increases so, again, technically, Bush DID implement the tax cut himself.. Of course, since only Congress has the constitutional authority to levy taxes, Congress had to cooperate by doing their legislative thing, which they did.

    My first point is, who on earth believes that congress would cooperate in cutting off their own health care coverage? Anyone?

    Besides, and secondly, the way Jersey would have it, the president CAN simply strip Congress of its health care coverage as head of the administration.

    Furthermore, thirdly, just the way Edwards put it, saying that he would strip Congress of their coverage, that sort of language doesn’t easily lend itself to what would actually have to happen, namely, his suggesting to Congress that they pass legislation cutting off their own health care coverage if they don’t pass comprehensive coverage for all Americans.

    Then, fourthly, there’s the whole question of the 27th amendment which would seem to preclude doing what Edwards promised as quickly as he promised, even if all he meant was lobbying Congress to cut off its own health care coverage because that wouldn’t take effect until the next Congress is seated in January of 2009.

    I don’t recall what rhetoric Bush couched his pre-election promises of cutting health care in. If he promised to cut taxes, that was clearly not something that was within his power to do on his own. If he promised to urge Congress to cut taxes, then that would be fine.

    The sort of promise that really gets my juices flowing was the sort of thing that Edwards promised in the run up to the 2004 presidential election, the sort of promise that is only really appropriate for the Almighty to make, things like if he and Kerry were elected to office, people with injuries like Christopher Reeve would get up out of their wheel-chair and walk because Kerry and he would open up federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Well, maybe that research will one day bear such fruit but he didn’t say “might”, he said “will”, like he was a faith-healer or something. Promises like that aren’t even within the province of mortals to make.

    My final point would be a very political one. Edwards is playing for the other team. Any time I can point out the other guys making stupid, outrageous, or plainly unconstitutional campaign promises, I’m going to do it because, well, because that’s a big part of what Bring It On! is all about: making fun of stupid things said by members of the other team. Usually, that means Republicans being made fun of or scorned because the libs outnumber the cons around here by a fairly large margin. This is just my part to try to even the scales.

  16. Paul Watson Says:

    Craig,
    I understand that, especially the last bit. But this seems to be really annoying you. Given that all Presidential canddates say what laws they’d implement, even though they have to do this via Congress, I’m not sure why this particular bit of rabble-rousing is getting you so worked up.
    I’ll grant you that it’s a stupid idea that Congress is, well t’s be generous, quite unlikely to pass, but that applies to a lot of thing, And to be hnest, most of the Presidnetial policies I see more as directions they’d be pushing rathre than specific policies. So this is just Edwards saying how important he thinks healthcare is, rather than his actual plan.

  17. me Says:

    Paul,

    I understand your point. As it turns out, as I understand it, as it was explained by Edwards’ camp, Edwards’ plan to strip Congress of their health care was…hold your breath…to submit a bill for Congress to vote itself out of its own health care coverage, which would be a fine, if humorous, thing but, as I’ve said, a far cry from actually stripping Congress of its health care coverage, even if Congress went along with it. So if that’s all his plan was, I’m just having fun with his rhetoric and his fanciful notion that he thinks he would be successful in bringing about his plan.

    And, to be frank, I’d have been content with my first comment (left before I knew what Edwards’ plan actually amounted to) but Jersey picked up the old rugby ball and started to scrum. Well, I couldn’t just let him go with it. He needed to be opposed.

    And, well, with all the fun that’s been had with Bush’s execution of the American idiomatic branch of the English language, not to mention his own Constitutional stretches, as I say, the scales needed balancing a bit.

    As for Edwards’ own actual policy preference for health care, I haven’t looked at it but being the liberal that he is, I’m sure it’s suitably socialistic and tax-dependent so I doubt that it would appeal to me in any case but I really can’t say, since I haven’t actually read it yet. I’m just being the, as Jersey would put it, “sleazy con”, here, and making as much hay as I can out of Edwards’ political pandering.

    Isn’t that what we’re all here for? :^)

  18. Jersey McJones Says:

    Craig, the president would not have to shut down the whole government to veto expenditures for federal healthcare benefits. There is just one spending bill, out of a dozen, that would have to be vetoed, and it would be a brilliant use of the bully pulpit. It would put this issue front and center. This is a serious matter. It’s time to stop the cannibalism.

    JMJ

  19. me Says:

    Jersey,

    In other words, a stunt.

    And ‘cannibalism’? Can you be, maybe, a little more hyperbolic?

  20. me Says:

    And the president WOULD have to shut down the entire government if the Congress sent the budget for health care coverage in a general budget…which, knowing his threat, they would.

  21. Jersey McJones Says:

    Free trade, codified private health insurance, contracted war - yeah, I’d call that CANNIBALISM.

    There are a dozen spending bills for the gov’t. This one fits into actual operation of federal branches only. It’s not that big a deal. It’s happened before. We all survived.

    JMJ

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