Liberals to GOP Lawmakers: Decline Health Insurance Progressives say they should reject government coverage By Nick McMaster, Newser Staff Posted Nov 24, 2010 5:40 PM CST 48 comments Comments Incoming congressman Andy Harris of Maryland. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark) (Newser) – Progressives are issuing a challenge to incoming Republican House members: If they are so dead-set on repealing health care reform, they shouldn't accept the taxpayer-funded congressional health plan. The fracas started when newly elected Rep. Andy Harris made a fuss during an orientation because his coverage didn't begin right away, notes the Huffington Post. If all Congressional Republicans declined, it would save an estimated $2.4 million. "Chump change? Yes, it is," writes Sam Stein at HuffPo. "That said, chump change seems to always at the heart of the most provocative political battles." Others: The issue may be opening for Democrats to "create tension between the newly elected officials and the Tea Partiers who put them there by highlighting the disconnect between the freshmen Republicans' rhetoric and their actions," writes Tom Jensen for Public Policy Polling. Republicans, however, say Democrats are distorting the issue—they want employer-based coverage to be the dominant system, and members of Congress are employed by the government, notes the Wall Street Journal. "Still, the issue has become a rallying cry for liberal activists," writes Danny Yadron.