Some new Republican lawmakers are embracing the government-sponsored healthcare that comes with their new jobs, as Democrats have sought to make an issue of it.
At least two new GOP members of Congress said they'll keep the plans some of their colleagues have shunned.
Rep. Joe Heck's (R-Nev.) office and Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) said they'll take advantage of the insurance coverage they're eligible for through the Federal Employees Health Benefits program — the same health insurance available to other federal employees. The plan is not a single-payer system, but offers different private plans from which federal employees can choose.
“What am I, not supposed to have health care?” Grimm told The New York Daily News. “It’s practicality. I’m not going to become a burden for the state because I don’t have health care, and God forbid I get into an accident and I can’t afford the operation."
Their decision, like many other new GOP lawmakers, to stand by their health insurance comes under assault by Democrats, who argue it's hypocritical for the lawmakers to accept the government-sponsored healthcare while railing against the healthcare reform law for providing federal support for Americans to receive coverage.
Some Republicans have played along by rejecting their healthcare coverage.
"I didn't want Congress to be able to exempt themselves from the impact of ObamaCare," said Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) on Thursday on Fox News. "I don't want to burden the American taxpayer with any of my benefits."
Walsh said his colleagues, however, have to make the best decisions for their own families.
House Democrats sought to bring the issue to the forefront this week by bringing up for a vote a rule that would have forced lawmakers to disclose whether or not they were receiving their federal healthcare benefits. That amendment failed.