Oh, brother! Grimm will work against Obamacare yet get full health care in Congress

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Freshman Rep. Michael Grimm wants to repeal last year’s landmark health care reform law — but he was derided as a hypocrite last week for saying that he intended to take his federally provided coverage so he would not become a “burden on the state” if he became ill or incapacitated.

“What am I, not supposed to have health care?” Grimm (R–Bay Ridge) told the Daily News last week, moments after being sworn in. “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. … That can happen to anyone.”

Indeed, it can, wailed Democrats — who pointed out that the controversial health care overhaul that passed along party lines when the Democrats were still in control of the House was designed to prevent tens of millions of uninsured Americans from becoming the same kind of “burden” that Grimm mentioned.

“That was fast,” Michael Czin, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee told the New York Observer. “After railing against health care reform as a ‘government takeover,’ Grimm is defending his rights to have the same type of health care he wants to deny his constituen­ts.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer was quick to make political hay out of Grimm’s comment, encouraging all Republicans opposing the health care reform to decline their coverage.

“It was a central value to us when we passed health care that members of Congress should get the same health care as everyone else,” Schumer told reporters. “It seems unfair that house Republicans want to deprive middle-class Americans of the same health care as members of Congress, but to keep it for themselves.”

The blogosphere was particularly harsh.

“Grimm campaigned against ‘Socialized medicine,’ and even signed a pledge to repeal Obamacare if he got elected,” noted Who Hijacked Our Country, a blog. “And now that he’s been elected, he goes into a panic at the thought of not having taxpayer-financed medical coverage for himself. [His comments] spell out, in crystal clear logic, why everyone needs access to health care.”

A headline on Michaelgri­mmfactcheck, a blog, said it all: “Michael Grimm strikes again.”

“Tell us, Congressman Grimm, why do you support something for yourself that you are so opposed to for others?” the writer added. “Your congressional salary is more than enough for you to purchase your own health care.”

Grimm took a few days to fire back at his critics, doing so on Sunday at his ceremonial swearing-in in Dyker Heights.

“[These Democrats] are trying to make the new Congress divisive and the [health care] debate taking place shows the ignorance of those asking the questions,” Grimm told this paper. “It’s complete nonsense and political grandstanding — and it’s my job to completely ignore those people.”

He added that any employee in his position would understand his motivation.

“Anyone offered health care through their job should take it,” he said. “If I was working for some corporate entity, wouldn’t I be taking their health care?”

Grimm accepted the same federal employee health care package that he received during his time as an FBI agent. A portion of it is paid by his salary, he noted.

That said, the freshman lawmaker, who defeated one-term Rep. Mike McMahon in November after McMahon had also opposed the health care bill, has repeatedly called President Obama’s signature reform a “job killer.”

“When I took this job, my main goals was to move the economy forward,” said Grimm. “[Health care reform] is hurting the economy.”

Not so, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the non-partisan agency that provides cost estimates and budget projections on pending legislation. The agency believes that killing the law may hurt the economy even more.

The group told new Speaker John Boehner (R–Ohio) last Thursday claiming that repealing the health care legislation would actually increase the national debt by $230 billion over the next decade and leave 32 million Americans uninsured.

Boehner quickly dismissed the findings as biased. On Sunday, Grimm followed suit.

“[The findings] are completely false,” he said. “If you look at the numbers, they double-counted both Social Security and Medicaid, which they shouldn’t have. We are going to save $2.6 trillion dollars if we repeal this bill.”

The GOP-led Congress was poised to that this Wednesday, but Boehner suspended all upcoming votes in the wake of the assassination attempt against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D–Arizona) on Saturday. Giffords had been targeted by former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who even put the congresswo­man’s district in rifle crosshairs — a post that is still on Palin’s Facebook page.

Updated 5:22 pm, July 9, 2018: Includes more comments.
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

terryjobe from ca says:

You guys should stop complaining because, one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed so give it some time. so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. If you do not have insurance and need one You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price search online for "Wise Health Insurance" If you have health insurance and do not care about cost just be happy about it and trust me you are not going to loose anything!
Jan. 10, 2011, 3:02 am
Paul Paray from Bay Ridge says:
Paul Paray from Bay Ridge says:
Tom Tracy makes a faulted and illogical argument to say that since Congress members get Federal employee health insurance, they must support ObamaCare. Why isn't the same argument applied to civil servants? Since they get health care from their employer, which happens to be the government, are they morally obligated to politically support ObamaCare? Of course not, and neither should members of Congress.

Government employees get health care mainly because it is largely a union employee environment. And since the time unions have won employer health insurance for their members, this benefit was extending to managers and other non-union employees.

Liberals like Tom Tracy have no qualms making deceitful arguments like this. Anything to get something free from the government, instead of earning it themselves.
Jan. 10, 2011, 9:47 am
WW from Bay Ridge says:
Obamacare is the best bill that Senators and Congressmen ever had to be bribed to pass!

Good enough for the masses, but Congress and Senate members are exempt- God save the Kings!
Jan. 10, 2011, 12:18 pm
Joey Bots from Freedom land says:
What does Grimms health care in Congress have to do with Obamacare? Because someone has heathcare they are not permitted to have a positon on what is the best approach to healtcare for the public at large? What a cheesy argument!! How did you get a job as a 'journalist?

Obamacare is a complete debacle that should be overturned so that true reforms can be made.

Why do you want to turn over your healtcare decisons to the state?
Jan. 10, 2011, 12:57 pm
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
Hey Grimm, no one likes a hypocrite!
Jan. 10, 2011, 2:05 pm
Paul Paray from Dyker Heights says:
Hey Joey from Clinton Hill.

Grimm ran on the platform of repealing ObamaCare, which is so unpopular in this district that even the Democrat he defeated, Mike McMahon, voted against it.

Grimm's vote to repeal ObamaCare is just a sign that he is doing what he promised to do, definitely not the act of a hypocrite.

The whole argument that equates government employee health care with ObamaCare is tailored to intellectually-challenged liberals that can only grasp the emotional content of an argument, not its logic or lack thereof.
Jan. 10, 2011, 4:22 pm
Michael from Dyker Heights says:
I agree with Paul Paray from Bay Ridge. Mike Grimm is now a federal employee and should be entitled to health coverage just like very other federal, state or city employee. Being against Obamacare is not a contradiction at all.
Tom Tracy needs to stop being a hack.
Jan. 10, 2011, 5:52 pm
Joe Z. from Greenpoint says:
"Tom Tracy needs to stop being a hack."

That's like asking the sun not to rise at dawn.
Jan. 10, 2011, 8:19 pm
Jay from pslope says:
Paul Paray, actually what you are saying is 100% wrong. Federal employees get health care, but they don't get to vote on what their coverage will be, what the deducible will be, etc etc.
A member of congress does get to vote on what he/she gets for health care at taxpayer expense, so no, its not the same thing, you are comparing apples to oranges, nice try though.
If he is opposed to "Obamacare" then he should not accept it, otherwise its just a cowardly double standard.
In fact its even worse than that because he seems to believe that he is ENTITLED to health care at taxpayer expense, because its just so "impractical" for him not to have it. GASP! Only poor loser people don't have health care right?!!!?
If he was even halfway intellectually honest he would pay $1000 a month to cover his family like the rest the of the country.
Please remember, a public official does not have to take any of the benefits of holding an office, just like Bloomberg only takes a dollar for being Mayor of NYC. Finally, Tracy is not getting free health care from the government, nor for the most part is any one else, and they are certainly are not getting it free under "Obamacare" either, (remember republicans are arguing "Obamacare" is just going to drive up what people pay, you can't have it both ways, it either costs less or it costs more, but it can not cost less AND more)
but this new congress member is getting about as low cost health care with the best benefits you can get in this country.
Since you seem to like calling people names and smearing people I suggest you read a book or two and read the actual law, oh wait, its all of 2000 pages long and so its "too complicated" for you to understand, right? Reading is just too hard right?
Heaven forbid you educate yourself and know what the actual law is, instead of just running your mouth off and calling people names before making such obviously flawed comments with zero basis in actual fact, and also remember that facts are facts, they are NOT debatable points of view.
WW you make a point, but remember it was the health care industry that did the bribing, its Cigna and Kaiser and Blue Cross, and Oxford that sent millions to front groups to run false ads to try and stop reform so they could keep profits high and care as low as they could get away with before people riot and string them up form a tree.
Jan. 10, 2011, 11:07 pm
Dave from Clinton Hill says:
Thanks for the common sense Jay!
Jan. 11, 2011, 1:04 am
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
The same nonsense was said about Medicare. Socialized medicine. It would destroy medical care. Many of the people against Obamacare(while some people think that is a curse I embrace it as he got it passed....something that Teddy Roosevelt-a Republican tried to pass and failed) are ON Medicare and try to take that away from them. Medicare Part D(the Prescription Drug benefit) was passed under a Republican President and Congress and the way it was to be "paid" for was a DECREASE in the payments to if that was really going to happen(each Congress has postponed the decrease without finding an alternate to pay for the BILLIONS in cost for this needed program).
BTW the same thing was said about Social Security too and not until recently did those who got/get social security put in anything approaching what they took out. It was never a system where money was put away to be actuarially taken out to pay for the benefits its always mostly been a pay as you go system(that is those who are currently working pay for those receiving benefits-not having the money put away to pay for future retirees).
Be careful what you wish for...single payer is simpler and not necessarily cheaper...
and so far the only death panels have been in republican Arizona where they refuse to pay for necessary care for the poor....and so people DIE needlessly.
so America has the best medical care in the world so long as you can afford to pay for it....and its almost $2000 per month for a family for health insurance, mainly because of cost transfers don't really believe you are paying for the care of others already do you...
Jan. 11, 2011, 8:23 am
Ed from Bay Ridge says:
Paul Paray from Bay Ridge says: "Government employees get health care mainly because it is largely a union employee environment. And since the time unions have won employer health insurance for their members, this benefit was extending to managers and other non-union employees."

So conservative legislators/managers who oppose unions -- or mandatory health care -- have health care because of union rank-and-file.
Jan. 11, 2011, 9:09 am
Madeline from dyker heights says:
Good luck Mr. Grimm! obamacare is nothing but a socialist plot that will destroy the best health care system in the world. If you think health care is expensive now, just wait until its free.The American people don`t want it, and, at the end of the day, the government must be accountable to the people.This was what the November elections were all about!
Jan. 11, 2011, 1:47 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Bay Ridge = Staten Island more or less. I could only take 2 years down there before getting a terrible feeling... later I would recognize it as Jersey-shore-itis.
Jan. 11, 2011, 5:29 pm
WW from Bay Ridge says:
If it's so good, why did Congress exempt itself from the bill?

One rule for the King and one for the peasants?
Jan. 11, 2011, 6:58 pm
Lolcat from Park Slope says:
Hey Paulie,

"Anything to get something free from the government, instead of earning it themselves."

Healthcare from the government wouldn't be free. It would be paid for by each individual with taxes, similar to how fire departments are paid for (except at a federal level).

I have to say, knowing that if my house is on fire, or my friend is sick and being able to call 911, have the fire department come within minutes, and never be asked for a bill is one of the greatest thing the government provides society. Medical care should work the same exact way.

Not only would this be a boon to individual citizens, but it benefits business as well as they are no longer financially squeezed providing health care to retirees.
Jan. 12, 2011, 5:38 pm
Jay from pslop says:
Madeline, you are factually incorrect, first there is nothing socialist about "obamacare' Nothing. Read the actual law yourself and see, stop taking other peoples word for it. Second, the U.S. does NOT have the best health care in the world nor second nor third or fith or even in the top ten. In fact even though we pay nearly 20% of our total GDP for health care, and in total dollars 4 times MORE than the second heaviest spending country in the world, we are not even in the top fifty for health care.
We spend way more and get way less than every other singe country on the planet. Why? well the biggest reason For every patient and doctor, there are four people working at the insurance company who have NOTHING to do with health care, all they do is draw a salary without adding ANYTHING of value.
It is these same people who have spent millions on false ads so that you can run around, brainwashed completely ignorant of the actual state of the law, calling people nonsensical names. Shame on you, you should expect better from yourself.
It is these same people who kill 45,000 Americans a year. It is these same people who take the money and then cancel the policy when someone needs it. It is these same people that want to keep making billions every year for doing NOTHING.
It is these same people who have a vested interest in keeping things exactly the same, otherwise they would have to actually go out and get a job and be productive. Heaven forbid! Oh wait, doesn't that make the health care industry closet socialists? Now you would not be defending the socialists, would you? Gasp!!
Jan. 12, 2011, 6:53 pm
Paul Pare from Bath Beach says:
Only a bloody idiot whose is bereft of logic can compare government employee health insurance, which is earned like salary, to a government entitlement like Obamacare, which is not earned.
Oct. 9, 2013, 11:49 am

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: