Illinois Republican Joe Walsh tells TheDC why he said ‘no’ congressional health insurance

Illinois Republican Rep. Joe Walsh’s decision to shop for private health insurance rather than accept government health care — in spite of his wife’s preexisting condition — is a protest, but not, as one might expect, a protest of Obama’s health care reform. The two, he says, are separate issues.

“In many ways it has nothing to do with Obamacare,” says the newly sworn in Republican from Illinois, of his refusal to accept government health care. As The Daily Caller reported earlier this week, Walsh has followed through with this particular campaign pledge, despite the fact that his wife has a preexisting condition.

There are two separate protests, he explained to TheDC in a phone interview. The first is against Obama’s health-care reform conducted by the House Republicans. The second is his own personal protest against the status quo in government.

“This is something I thought about from day one since I started to run,” he explained. He made the pledge “not to take any health or retirement benefits” back in January, during the primary, noting that “at the time, Congress was trying to exempt themselves from the impact of Obamacare.”

“One of the things I want to do is propose an entirely radical new way of representation,” Walsh told TheDC.

“The notion of not wanting to live in this darn city of Washington is something I’ve always believed in,” he continued.

“I’m a term limit guy,” he told TheDC, saying that he would serve no more than six years in office, and that he would sleep in his office.

“I do not want to burden the American taxpayer with any of my health care costs and retirement. Period,” he said.

Denying reports that his wife, who’s preexisting condition he declined to discuss, was not thrilled with the decision, Walsh told TheDC that “she’s fully on board and fully supportive,” in spite of the fact that given her preexisting condition, “It may very well cost us a bunch of money out of pocket” to go shop for private insurance.

“The American people sent me here — and she understands this, and she’s with me on this — to do what you said you were going to do,” he said.

  • Rzldzl122

    What are the “Horrors” of the Health care reform? The fact that you can keep your kids on it until age 26?  Or that insurance companies can no longer rescind your insurance when you actually start using it?  Or perhaps the part that says they can no  longer refuse you if you have a pre-existing condition?

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  • gooners

    He isn’t refusing “government health care”, he’s refusing employer health insurance. His own choice, of course, but not in any way the symbolic gesture he thinks he’s making.

    • snappercat

      I disagree – the employer healthcare is paid by the taxpayers. Congress exempted itself and its staff from the horrors of Obamacare which they inflicted on us, the second class citizens. I think he’s saying that Congress should receive compensation on the same level as its constituents and that elected officials pigging out at the trough is disgraceful. The just-voted-out-of-office group will be eligible for Congressional health care for life.

      • gooners

        Sorry, I’m not up on right-wing reality, so you’ll have to explain a little more for me. Which requirements of ObamaCare did Congress exempt themselves from? What is the difference between employer insurance and employer insurance paid by the taxpayers? Which constituents does he think his compensation should be the same as? The ones that don’t get employer insurance? If he’s worried about compensation, why doesn’t he opt out of his salary?

        • Brutus2

          Sorry, I’m not up on loony left-wing reality, so you’ll have to explain to me how what is essentially a member of the board is an employee with an entitlement to benefits that weren’t agreed to by the citizen shareholders of the republic?
          Since when has it been the top priority of those who hold the purse-strings to enrich themselves at the expense of the corporate entity that is the U.S. Governmnt and the citizens who have invested their hard-earned dollars in same?
          On the other hand, if an entirely self-centered society is your dream, hold on tight; you are right on course.

          • gooners

            Salaries and benefits for members of Congress is a looney left idea? And it is related to a self-centered society…how?

        • SargeH

          You apparently aren’t up on “reality” period. Your problem begins with thinking the government is an “employer.” It isn’t. The people are the employer and foot the bill.