Another newly elected Republican member of Congress says he will not accept the government-sponsored health insurance plan available to lawmakers.
Rep.-elect Joe Walsh (Ill.), who rode a wave of Tea Party support to defeat three-term Rep. Melissa Bean (D) in November, said he does not believe lawmakers should receive the benefits.
Republicans who staunchly opposed President Obama's healthcare reform plan have come under pressure from Democrats and liberal activist groups to decline their government healthcare benefits upon taking office.
Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) penned a letter to GOP leaders that demanded Republican members "walk that walk" and refuse their federally subsidized coverage.
"If your conference wants to deny millions of Americans affordable health care, your members should walk that walk," Crowley wrote to incoming House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.). "You cannot enroll in the very kind of coverage that you want for yourselves, and then turn around and deny it to Americans who don't happen to be Members of Congress."
The push began in earnest after Rep.-elect Andy Harris (R-Md.) reportedly complained in a private November meeting that his government healthcare benefits did not begin immediately.
So far, incoming Reps. Bobby Schilling (R-Ill.) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) have declined their government health insurance.
But Walsh's wife is reportedly unhappy with her husband's decision: She has a pre-existing medical condition and will have to purchase her own insurance, according to the Chicago News Cooperative.