When Congressman Jim Langevin, a Democrat from Rhode Island, first unveiled his health care plan in 2004, he received no support from his colleagues. In 2005, he thought he’d try again, but still no luck. However, this year is different because he has the support of Congressman Chris Shays, a Republican from Connecticut.
Langevin’s plan, not unlike some proposed here at the state level in Connecticut, allows Americans to piggyback on the existing Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, which insures more than 8 million federal employees, retirees and dependents.
In a press release Shays said, “Our health care plan will extend the benefits federal employees receive to the rest of our constituents, while maintaining the private health plans that many Americans enjoy today.”
But at least one political party doesn’t believe Shays when he says he will support the legislation. Jon Green, executive director of the Working Families Party, said in a press release that “Representative Shays’ statement today seems to be all talk, and no action.”
“Representative Shays has been on the wrong side of healthcare reform for his two decades in the House of Representatives, so this turnaround must be met with some skepticism,” Green said. “The bill Shays is advocating today was introduced in 2004 and in 2005. Where was Rep. Shays then? His party was in the majority and his support for healthcare reform could have meant a lot. But it wasn’t there.”