Gabrielle Giffords, Mark Kirk get to worry about their health; rest of us have to worry about a lot more
In the limited conversation on health care reform in 2009, one of the simpler suggestions was for all Americans to get the same health care coverage that Congressmen and Senators enjoy. “If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for all.”
Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kirk may not agree on much politically, but both understand that they have a really good health care situation.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) resigned from Congress this week, just over a year after being shot in the head at point-blank range in an assassination attempt. Giffords voted only once after being shot, in dramatic fashion, she cast a vote to raise the debt ceiling because the vote was close.
Those in Congress who are ill are given generous amounts of the benefit of the doubt. Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), who suffered a stroke and missed most of 2007 in recovery, is one of countless stories where our elected officials got to keep their job while recovering.
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) will discover that soon enough. Kirk suffered a stroke this week, and will have a significant recovery ahead of him. Kirk doesn’t have to worry about his job security. His staff will cover helping citizens while he recovers.
Senators have a distinct advantage over representatives when it comes to illness. Kirk’s next election isn’t until 2016, so he has plenty of time. Giffords’ resignation came on the heels of whether she could run again for her seat in November. As miraculous as her recovery has been, Giffords was in no shape to run for her seat.
Resigning now allows for a special election to fill the remaining term of her 8th Congressional District. Confusing matters is that the districts are being redrawn, and the new 2nd Congressional District is pretty much the people currently in AZ-8.
Giffords could have stayed in the seat until January 2013, but thought it was best to resign now.
President Barack Obama and his challenger(s) will be talking health care throughout the 2012 presidential race. The challenge for the president and his administration is defending Obamacare when millions of Americans haven’t had a chance to enjoy it, and the other side wants to take that way before it can help those who need help.
In the real world, if you get shot or suffer a stroke, you have more to worry about than your health. Keeping your job and the cost of health care are two crucial concerns beyond the obvious health issues. Those elected in Congress don’t have those worries, and we don’t want to change that part of the equation. In fact, we want to join them.