From the archives: Sherrod Brown joins government health plan, after 18-year protest

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From the archives: Sherrod Brown joins government health plan, after 18-year protest

When it comes to healthcare, Sherrod has always stood with hardworking Americans, millions of whom couldn’t afford quality care before the Affordable Care Act became law. As long as people were struggling to get covered, Sherrod refused to accept the health insurance plans covering many of his colleagues in Congress—because all Americans, not just the wealthy, or those in elected office, deserve affordable healthcare.

Today, we’re taking a look back at Sherrod’s decision. Read more below about it below, or listen to him (and Connie) talk about it here (starting at 58 minutes.)

Stephen Koff – Cleveland.com, January 4, 2011

For 18 years, Sherrod Brown refused to sign up for one of the health insurance plans that covered most of his colleagues in Congress. It was a personal protest. If the American public could not avail itself of such fine, federally subsidized health care coverage, Brown said when he was in the House and then the Senate, neither would he.

The protest is over. Congress last year passed a law to cover the overwhelming majority of Americans by 2014, and Brown says he and his wife now have signed up for federal health coverage. In fact, Brown went to the dentist today under his new plan, he said.

This is not free health care. Nor is it health care exclusively for members of Congress. Lawmakers are eligible for the same coverage as other federal employees, and the rates, deductibles and co-payments are similar to those charged for employees of large companies across the country.

For example, an Aetna HealthFund plan that offers coverage to members of Congress and their families charges the employee — including a member of Congress — a $300 monthly premium for family coverage. The government (yes, that means the taxpayers) picks up another $875.

A different plan, from Blue Cross and Blue Shield, costs the lawmaker $431 monthly for standard family coverage. The government pays another $875 toward the premium.