Nel's New Day

July 21, 2012

GOP Too Cheap to Give Firefighters Any Insurance

How cheap, selfish, and uncaring are Republicans? When President Obama gave health care insurance to federal firefighters, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) questioned his action. Coburn has asked the Office of Personal Management (OPM) to defend the decision with a legal analysis and several cost assessments including the regulation’s economic impact, its impact on federal worker premiums, and the estimated 10-year cost to taxpayers.

When the president visited Colorado because of the recent fires, he discovered that, as seasonal government workers, thousands of firefighters were ineligible for insurance under the federal employee health plan. Because of  the president’s action, firefighters will be eligible to buy into the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program for themselves and their families by the end of the month, and other temporary disaster-relief workers may qualify in the future.

Rep. Diana DeGette, (D-CO) introduced legislation to provide health insurance for firefighters and their families on the same day that the president issued his directive. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) supported her. According to the Denver Post, the Republican representative delegation from Colorado has stayed “mostly silent.”

Coburn said that the firefighters “are to be commended for their service.” Mitt Romney’s campaign has no comment about the president’s directive. Neither one of them has to worry about health insurance; Coburn gets his free from the government.

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