GOP Freshmen Pay Steep Price for Refusing Health Benefits $1K-per-month premiums
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2011 10:18 AM CST
Rep. Joe Walsh was one of the incoming GOP freshmen who turned down federal health benefits. His wife has a pre-existing condition.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(Newser) – The 16 newly-minted House Republicans who turned down government health benefits are learning the hard way that the private insurance market is a pretty unpleasant place. Many are facing premiums of $1,200 a month, Politico reports, and that’s if they can get insurance. The wife of Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh, for example, has a pre-existing condition, so the family will pay for an upcoming procedure out-of-pocket.

“I can simply, honestly say that this is going to impact my wife and I to a fairly serious degree,” Walsh says, “like it would any average American out there.” Of course, most of the new House members are accepting coverage, arguing that it’s consistent with their belief in employer-provided health care. One North Carolina representative took heat for justifying the decision by telling a radio show, “it costs a lot of money to be here in Congress.”

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