Sunday, October 04, 2009

Pete Olson Got It Wrong and Gets It Wrong

Well there’s a switch. All summer my congressman, Pete Olson, has been dismissing the Democratic plan for healthcare reform. Not coming up with any plan himself, just blindly opposing anything that Democrats propose, including giving constituents the same kind of free choice that he and his family enjoys from the Federal program.

Now, from one reading of his recent comments in the news, he seems to be in favor of a robust public option. The trouble is, its all just a huge mistake.

The truth is, Pete Olson is anything but a glib man. In person, without the use of notes or a slide show, he has trouble making his point.

He sometimes has trouble making any point at all.

So imagine my surprise when I saw that Pete Olson alerted his constituents that he was participating in a “live chat” at the Houston Chronicle’s “Texas on the Potomac” blog. That I did not participate in the live chat should be of no surprise given that the timing of the event was atrocious for most of us who find that they are still at work at noon on a weekday.

Nevertheless, the blog went on to post a transcript of what went on. And just what went on? Nothing really, except for a brief foray into healthcare, where, in answer to a question from participant “sara” we find that Pete Olson made a cogent argument in favor of a robust public option.

“[Comment From sara]Give me the same access to the same health care plan Pete Olson has with his pre-existing condition - at exactly the same cost. I am a voter in his District and I don't see how hard that is to understand. Olson's health insurance is subsidized by the federal government and I want in on that. I'm self employed and work at least as hard as he does.”

“POlson: Sara - I have no problem with that. I have signed on as a cosponsor to a House resolution that requires Members who vote for the Public Option to make it their health care.”

Now on one level you could say that Olson was participating in the Grand Old Pastime of his party in going all snarky on us again, saying that any legislator who favors the public option must participate in said option. Must participate in the fruits of their mistakes as it were. And that is the level that Olson was seeking. The lowest one . . . again.

But there is more than one way to look at this. Imagine if you were a congressman flirting with the notion of voting in favor of the public option, and you were presented with this house resolution. A resolution, I might add, that seems to make what is optional to their constituents mandatory for them. What would you do as a lawmaker?

Well obviously you would want the most robust public option imaginable. One that would be the envy of the world.

One that you, as a legislator, or anyone as a citizen, would want to buy into.

So there you have it. Pete Olson has stuck his foot in it again, saying and meaning one thing in his usual snarky way, but suggesting something that I think we all can get behind.

I would be wildly supportive of this resolution, as a result of the above, if it weren’t for the fact that I read the resolution, HR 615, introduced in the House on July 8, 2009. Something that Pete Olson obviously didn’t do. HR 615 doesn’t “require” Members to make the public option their health care. It merely “urges” them to make that choice.


1st Session

H. RES. 615
Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that Members who vote in favor of the establishment of a public, Federal Government run health insurance option are urged to forgo their right to participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and agree to enroll under that public option.
And there in a nutshell, is my congressman. When he’s botched a line it seems like you can get behind him, and it’s only when you do the legwork to check up on it you find that, again, he got it wrong, and again, he gets it wrong.

No comments: