THEY WORK HARD FOR THEIR MONEY
Posted December 4, 2012on:
Tis True, tis true! These two women did work hard for their money in the film Working Girl.
← However these folks; not so much. In fact, if you or I worked the schedule these clowns have, we would be reduced to part-time employees and as part-timers we would not even be eligible for benefits of any kind! Yes, our House of Representatives’ calendar for 2013 shows that they will be in session for a grand total of 126 days out of the year. And aren’t they cheeky to still insist on their entire salary of $174,000 per annum! Plus there are all of the other goodies they are entitled to (Oh!! There’s that word *entitled* sorta like entitlements – those things they want to do away with for all of us peons). Yep, they will want their discounted dining rooms, their gym, their travel expenses and their state-of-the-art health clinic called The Office of the Attending Physician.
Officially, the office acknowledges these types of services, including providing physicals to Capitol police officers and offering flu shots to congressional staffers. But what is rarely discussed outside the halls of Congress is the office’s other role — providing a wealth of primary care medical services to senators, representatives and Supreme Court justices.
“A member walked in and was generally walked right back into a physician’s office. They get good care. They are not rushed. They are examined thoroughly,” said Eduardo Balbona, an internist in Jacksonville, Fla., who worked as a staff physician in the OAP from 1993 to 1995.
“You have time to spend to get to know your patients and think about them and really think about how you preserve their health going forward,” Balbona said. “We’re not there to put on Band-Aids. We were there to make sure that everything possible that could be done [is done] to preserve that member of Congress.”
Services offered by the Office of the Attending Physician include physicals and routine examinations, on-site X-rays and lab work, physical therapy and referrals to medical specialists from military hospitals and private medical practices. According to congressional budget records, the office is staffed by at least four Navy doctors as well as at least a dozen medical and X-ray technicians, nurses and a pharmacist.
Sources said when specialists are needed, they are brought to the Capitol, often at no charge to members of Congress.
Members of Congress do not pay for the individual services they receive at the OAP, nor do they submit claims through their federal employee health insurance policies. Instead, members pay a flat, annual fee of $503 for all the care they receive. The rest of the cost of their care, sources said, is subsidized by taxpayers.
Last year, Congress appropriated more than $3 million to reimburse the Navy for staff salaries at the office. Next year’s budget allocates $3.8 million for the office, including more than half a million dollars to upgrade the Office’s radiology suite. Sources said additional money to operate the office is included in the Navy’s annual budget.
In 2008, 240 members paid the annual fee, though some sources say congressmen who didn’t pay the fee were rarely prevented from using OAP services.
Damn! If I don’t pay my doctor bill they are on me like gravy on rice with the statements, followups, nasty calls and then the collection agency. And since I have a co-pay for each visit, they get that before I even head back to the doctors’ offices. Yet, these are the folks who are arguing over what you and I can have for health care and don’t even want to work more than 126 days for their goodies!
Sadly, the Majority Leader, Eric Cantor even feels justified in creating and setting this calendar. Says he:
“Time spent in the district between Monday and Friday is essential for meeting with small businesses, employees, seniors, veterans and other local communities during working hours. We will continue to accommodate Members with longer distances to travel home and provide at least one constituent work week each month, with the exception of June.”
Constituent work Eric? Hell, isn’t that why you have those district offices with employees in them? I mean, really…don’t those folks do all the work of speaking to constituents, taking information for an inquiry, preparing any necessary documents and then producing the letter that will be sent out in your name either signed by them or an autopen? Y’all really have to go home for that? Not buying it.
I have a better idea. I say we give y’all a total…throughout the year… of 80 hrs to be in the district working on district issues. After that, if you go home it has to be on a non-pay basis.
Members of the House are set to be paid $1,380.95 for each day when they are in session in 2013. If they were serious about reducing the deficit, one of the first things that they should do is prorate their pay so that their yearly compensation is based on only the days that they spent in session.
The House salary prorated over 365 days is $476.71. If we pay House members for only the days that they will be in full legislative session in 2013 ($476.71 X 126), their annual salary would drop to $60,065.46. This would net an average savings to the taxpayers of $113,954.13 per member. The total savings on House salaries per year would be over $49.5 million a year. Do this for ten years, and you will shave nearly half a billion dollars off the deficit.
I think this is an admirable idea and we should all forward it our respective congress-critters. Get your benefits, yes…but at least be willing to work for them!
Below is a copy of the House calendar which you can click on and view for yourself. The shaded areas are when the House is in session.
House calendar-click to make me bigger! As you’ll see, in August the House is in session for a grand total of two days!
This is an open thread.
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