Why Rob Woodall has federal health care: ‘Because it’s free’

In the summer of 2010, Republicans sent videographers to town hall meetings to catch Democratic members of Congress being pilloried for their health care vote.

Karma has a special affection for politics.

The Georgia Democratic party this afternoon released some raw video from a Dacula town hall meeting held last Saturday by U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville.

Woodall is questioned by Ilene Johnson, a Democratic activist who lives in Gwinnett County, about changes the congressman would like to make to Medicare and the nation’s health care system – and his own use of government-funded health insurance provided for federal employees:

The transcript:

Johnson: All right, I have a question about taking care of you. You take government-subsidized health care, but you are not obligated to take that if you don’t want to. Why aren’t you going out on the free market in the state where you are a resident and buy your own health care?

Woodall: Your —

Johnson: Be an example.

Woodall: Your question is, my government is going to give me lots and lots of stuff for free–

Johnson: No, you lead by example. Why aren’t you leading by example? And go and get it in a single-subscriber plan like you want everybody else to have, ‘cause you want to end employer-sponsored health plans and government-sponsored health plans. You said so in a letter to me – that your goal is to get rid of the employer-sponsored health plans.

[Crosstalk]

Johnson: Okay, well, so why aren’t you leading by example? And go out yourself — decline the government health plan — and go to the Blue Cross/Blue Shield, whoever, and get one for yourself, and you’ll see how tough it is. You don’t have any pre-existing conditions, I guess. You haven’t had any life-threatening illnesses like I had last year.

Woodall: This is why it is good to have these kinds of conversations, because there is some bad information out there. You know, back when –

Johnson: Answer the question. Why haven’t you gone out and did this?

Woodall: Oh, I’m sorry I thought I did. It’s because it’s free. It’s because it’s free. The same reason I went out to Walgreens and bought Activon when I don’t have any arthritis pain. Because it’s free. Folks, if you give people things for free, don’t blame them for taking them.

We’ve offered the congressman an opportunity to respond.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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109 comments Add your comment

Gotcha

May 25th, 2011
1:28 pm

Where’s all the tea party quacks at? Did they run and hide after hearing this?

Gotcha

May 25th, 2011
1:31 pm

Good work Ms. Johnson for getting him to answer the question. This needs to be done to all politicians. They MUST answer to their constitutents. For too long we keep giving them a free pass. I commend her. Great job!

gary

May 25th, 2011
1:35 pm

Free health care is provided to members of Congress, the President and their families by law. It is proper and should not be questioned. It’s a perk that comes with the job. The peopl,e that don’t agree with the policy are just jealous. If they want free health care they should join the military or get elected to Congress or just plain SHUT UP!!!

Land of the Free

May 25th, 2011
1:37 pm

Um… somebody needs to tell this dude that his healthcare is not free to the taxpayers!

Paul Revere

May 25th, 2011
1:40 pm

The taxpayers pay for his health care; it is absolutely NOT FREE. Rob Woodall is an embarrassment.

Last Man Standing

May 25th, 2011
1:41 pm

No Mr. Woodall, your health care isn’t ‘free’. Your health care is paid for by the taxpayers! If you’re going to ‘preach’ something, then live it! Mr. Woodall, you are not the solution: you’re part of the PROBLEM!

ProgressivePeach

May 25th, 2011
1:42 pm

The Republican Party, ladies and gentlemen!

Last Man Standing

May 25th, 2011
1:43 pm

gary:

“Free health care is provided to members of Congress, the President and their families by law.”

Who enacted and passed the law, Gary? No, people should not ’shut up’. The U.S. Congress have passed laws that make them an entitlement class. They pass other laws and exempt themselves from those same laws. This is part and parcel of what is wrong with America today.

just peachy

May 25th, 2011
1:43 pm

I’m confused at what the problem is here? We elected him to congress knowing he would be getting healthcare. Why would he decline it? Republican’s aren’t trying to take away health care there trying to make it were you aren’t required to get it if you don’t want it. There are people out there who CHOOSE not to have insurance they would rather put their money somewhere else. I have employee’s who DECLINE my companies insurance because they don’t want to lose money out of their paycheck (I pay 50% of their premium). If I offered it free of course all of my employee’s would take insurance. Johnson’s question is off base in the first place.

Aquagirl

May 25th, 2011
1:44 pm

There is a sickness in GA

May 25th, 2011
1:45 pm

“The same reason I went out to Walgreens and bought Activon when I don’t have any arthritis pain.” Huh? I thought he sounded bad in the quotes I read yesterday, today he just sounds even worse. I don’t mind Republicans getting elected in GA, it’s a conservative state…but couldn’t you at least elect Republicans that weren’t such a**holes. Say what you like about Scott, Lewis, Bishop, Barrow, etc….at least they aren’t straight up pri*ks to people. And no one bring up Cynthia McKinney, it’s not nice to make fun of the…I believe “touched” is the euphemism I am looking for.

Last Man Standing

May 25th, 2011
1:48 pm

ProgressivePeach:

. . . and democrats don’t have people like this? Yeah. RIGHT!

GaBlue

May 25th, 2011
1:49 pm

just peachy,

While some of your employees may choose a spouse’s coverage over what you offer, those who refuse to purchase health insurance end up costing the rest of us more. Don’t act like their “personal freedom” does not infringe upon the rest of us. It does, via the higher costs charged to cover for those who don’t pay. The reason our congressmen’s free health coverage should be yanked is so they might actually be inspired to address the problems of the people they collect a paycheck and benefits to represent. You’re right: It’s free to THEM; not their problem, hence, no solutions.

Last Man Standing

May 25th, 2011
1:51 pm

There is a sickness in GA:

Christopher Dodd, Barny Frank, Nancy Pelosi, Hank Johnson, Hussein Obama . . .

Last Man Standing

May 25th, 2011
1:51 pm

There is a sickness in GA:

Oops, forgot to mention Harry Reed . . .

HAHAHAHA

May 25th, 2011
1:54 pm

If my employer offered me free health care, I’d take it. And I’d question anyone who would turn it down. Why is Woodall taking his health care? Because it’s there.

LEAD BY EXAMPLE? How about if all of the liberals in Congress start paying 50 percent income taxes and start paying 10 bucks for a gallon of gas voluntarily… such hypocrisy…

Paul Revere

May 25th, 2011
1:55 pm

…isn’t Rob Woodall a bachelor? What wife is he talking about?

There is a sickness in GA

May 25th, 2011
1:57 pm

@ just peachy Perhaps your employees decline health care because they get it from other sources like their spouse, perhaps they are idiots.

“We elected him to congress knowing he would be getting healthcare. Why would he decline it? ” Because government provided health insurance coverage is socialism, and socialism is evil. At least that is what Republicans, Talk Radio, and Fox news has been telling us all for the last three years.

“Republican’s aren’t trying to take away health care there trying to make it were you aren’t required to get it if you don’t want it” Actaully, Republicans are trying to take away healthcare plans that people purchase through their employers, namely those that allow coverage for abortions.

Also, the reason everyone has to get insurance is because when those without insurance go to the hospital for care the rest of us with insurance have to pay for them through higher deductibles. I am sick of people getting a free ride, its time everyone man up and pay for their own coverage.

You Folks Are Unreal

May 25th, 2011
2:01 pm

So this is your representative to Congress? Why do republicans like getting abused by rich guys so much? Is it some kind of subservience thing, or inferiority complex, or irrational hope that you’re going to win the lotto?

I mean, he just told you dumdums that everybody needs to just take care of themselves…..EXCEPT HIM AND THE REST OF THE ELITE. And he displayed the most obvious welfare mentality and entitlement attitude openly, right to your faces. And most of the audience clapped!

Real Athens

May 25th, 2011
2:02 pm

LMS:

Congrats on a non-partisan, “what’s good for America” high road response to Congressman Woodall’s blatherings and Gary.

Then you had to go get in the sandbox at 1:51 PM in a reply to “…Sickness in GA”

You’re confused again, None of the folks you mention are from Georgia.

Sigh.

Tim

May 25th, 2011
2:02 pm

Last Man Standing

You’re quite the comedian. The democratic party at least came up with a solution, the republicans and tea baggers ran and hid. The easy thing to do is to just say no to every solution; the real truth is when you look at a problem and at least try to come up with a solution. But if you look at the hypocrites on the right, they are actually now condeming the very plan from which Mr. Obama’s plan was based and the original plan was from one of their own. They don’t care about finding solutions, only pointing fingers and telling lies. That’s what the right is doing.

You Folks Are Unreal

May 25th, 2011
2:10 pm

Seriously. I mean he didn’t even try to deny that he’s stuffing himself at the taxpayer’s expense, while at the same time telling you simple folks that we all need to take care of ourselves. There are elementary school class presidents with way more smarts than the piece of work you elected. There are dog catchers all over the country with more political savvy than your tea party doofus.

[...] The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a transcript. [...]

Susan

May 25th, 2011
2:19 pm

His comment about “buying” Activon when he doesn’t have arthritis is a perfect description of the state of all of our politicians. The decisions they make which impact the lives of each of us do not cost them a single red cent personally so they spend our money like the Rapture is coming tomorrow (yeah, we know where that went, don’t we?). Woodall certainly isn’t the brightest light bulb in the chandelier but he is simply representative of the other 537 members of Congress. (yes, 537 others – 435 Rep’s, 100 Sen’s and 3 from the District of Columbia).

DannyX

May 25th, 2011
2:20 pm

Its nuts like Woodall that make Obama look better and better.

Latest Gallup has Obama approval still climbing back up, now 53%.

Keep up the good work, Woodall, Ryan, Palin, Gingrich, Cain, and Bachmann

Btw, Real Clear Politics now has the Democrats ahead in their Generic Congressional tracking, a stunning reversal from last November’s tracking.

Looking forward to watching this video again on the Daily Show. Maybe Woodall should go on the Colbert Report, he needs a bump.

Aquagirl

May 25th, 2011
2:21 pm

We should be grateful he pulled his snout out of the trough long enough to answer.

John K

May 25th, 2011
2:24 pm

Looks like the cream of the GOP crop has been left out in the sun way too long.

Love how she put his feet to the fire and wouldn’t let up.

Lastly, what in the world is he saying with his Activon comment? He got a medicine he didn’t need because it’s free? I guess I can go stock up on BCPs?

Ol' Timer

May 25th, 2011
2:28 pm

@LMS — I’ve read your posts for a long time and don’t recall you ever calling George Bush by his middle name Walker. I think it’s apparent to all who read your posts why you refer to the President by his middle name. The context in which you use his middle name is provocative and very disrespectful — but I guess we should expect that from you.

Regarding Rob Woodall — a person on food stamps, welfare, medicaide or medicare are leeches that are a drain to taxpayers.

However, if you wear a suit and are a member of Congress or the CEO of a big company, government handouts take on an entirely different meaning — they’re subsidies to enhance business growth or perquisites that are deserved and come with the lofty position.

To all this I simply say, horse hocky.

Not Blind

May 25th, 2011
2:30 pm

The real idiots are the people that think this is a ‘Republican issue’ or a ‘Democrat issue’. The real issue is that there is no accountability on either side. Our elected officials screw the electorate and the country and rarely have to pay for their transgressions. Makes you wonder who Randy Cunningham made an enemy of. The vast majority of the people in national office are extremely well to do if not outright wealthy and voting themselves free healthcare just shows how much comtempt they have for the taxpayers.

Red

May 25th, 2011
2:31 pm

So what would be the difference in national healthcare? What if the government offered the exact same insurance to us? It would be “free”. Is Woodall now saying he would support the same thing on a nationwide level? Or would he suddenly “take a stand” on that?

Last Man Standing

May 25th, 2011
2:39 pm

Tim
“You’re quite the comedian. The democratic party at least came up with a solution, the republicans and tea baggers ran and hid.”

Their solution being Obamacare? In order to cover a relatively low percentage of the population that either could not afford or refused to buy health care insurance, the democrats solution was to forcibly place all Americans under a new nationalized health care plan? Hussein exempted union participation immediately, and has gone on to exempt over 1,000 entities from this “wonderful” health care plan.

“The easy thing to do is to just say no to every solution; the real truth is when you look at a problem and at least try to come up with a solution. But if you look at the hypocrites on the right, they are actually now condeming the very plan from which Mr. Obama’s plan was based and the original plan was from one of their own. They don’t care about finding solutions, only pointing fingers and telling lies. That’s what the right is doing.”

Have you checked lately to learn how badly you were lied to concerning the cost of this plan? The cost of the Obamacare is not sustainable. The cost figures presented to you by Hussein, Pelosi and Reed were pure fabrications from the beginning.

The democrats had the votes to pass it, and they did so. If it remains in place, I’d really like to know how much you like this plan ten years from now.

FSG

May 25th, 2011
2:40 pm

One question test for erstwhile congressmen:

‘Which is more important to the future of the American economy: An infant, or a seventy year old voter?’

In the answer to this question lies both the quandary in which our current Congress finds itself, and its solution. Remember, the preamble says we secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and _our posterity_ – not our ancestors. Everything government (D & R) has done in the last 20 years has been in violation of this.

FL Alum

May 25th, 2011
2:46 pm

The bottom line is Government run health care is a bad idea. Period. The fact that Rob, when faced with a choice of paying or not paying for something provided to him, chose to take it like the vast majority of people would. This does not preclude him for working towards a better (read: non-government) health care solution. Would it be better if all of Congress, the President, etc., who are entitled to the free government health care be forced to get health care the same way the rest of the population does? Yes, of course. Rob should push for this. But don’t criticize him for being against the concept of government health care when you (Johnson) and your party (Democrats) crammed it down our throats.I am glad to hear this new solution isn’t working for you – serves you right.

Last Man Standing

May 25th, 2011
2:47 pm

Ol’ Timer:

Well, there you have it. You’ve got everything figured out, haven’t you? As that is the case, I’ll not attempt to answer except to say that I have called Bush “W”. No one ever accused me of being “provocative and very disrespectful” when I did so. Obviously, “provocative and very disrespectful” is in the eye of the beholder.

Have a nice life.

khc

May 25th, 2011
2:48 pm

good on you, ol’ timer

FSG

May 25th, 2011
2:48 pm

Oh, and all of you jerks on both the right and the left – you’re the cause of this mess. A pox on both houses.

cw

May 25th, 2011
2:49 pm

This man is too stupid to be a Congressman! He needs to check his payroll statement. The last time I checked, Congressman pay a monthly premium for their health insurance benefits just like ALL federal employees. If he’s married, he probably pays around $373 a month if he has Blue Cross.

John K

May 25th, 2011
2:49 pm

A bad idea, eh? A bad idea that Woodall willfully accepts? A bad idea that Woodall willfully accepts, claiming it’s free when he knows that taxpayers are funding it?

I love the GOP spin on this.

Hide-n-seek

May 25th, 2011
2:57 pm

Wow…I never knew that only Republicans got free health care or at the expense of the tax payers. Did anyone track this back who actually started this mess. Congress members are Federal employees. Why don’t pay for their health care?

RetiredFedEmployee

May 25th, 2011
3:01 pm

WHAT??? Free? Where?? I worked for the Federal Gov’t for 42 years, and now, in retirement, am paying $523. a month for my Federal health care policy, PLUS $115. a month for Medicare part B. If somebody is getting something completely free, they need to explain how the rest of us cannot. Free my foot. It might be for Congress, but not for the plain old federal worker.

WAW

May 25th, 2011
3:01 pm

Hands off my Medicare !!! I don’t want no RyanCare !!! and don’t even think about messing Social Security.

Aquagirl

May 25th, 2011
3:02 pm

Love how she put his feet to the fire and wouldn’t let up.

I was kind of disappointed she cut Woodall off at “You know, back when –.” He was fixin’ to reminisce on the good ol’ days, when ferry rides were a nickel and he used to wear an onion on his belt.

John K

May 25th, 2011
3:02 pm

Aquagirl, LOL!

You Folks Are Unreal

May 25th, 2011
3:07 pm

FLA alum: your enstatooshin of hire lurnin must be proud as punch right now at your smartness and intelligenceness in spinning the free health care issue.

Let the Big Dawg Eat

May 25th, 2011
3:11 pm

What’s the BFD? Gimme some free medical care, too.

Corey

May 25th, 2011
3:12 pm

We all pay for each others health care either through taxes for those who are on a government plan. Those who show up at emergency rooms as their only means to access health care get those costs passed on to us in higher premiums. People who get health care through their employers, part of that costs is passed on to consumers when factored into the costs of the products and services.

Ol' Timer

May 25th, 2011
3:13 pm

You can disagree with Newt, but you can’t say he’s stupid. The same goes for many politicians I disagree with philosophically.

But when it comes to ol’ Rob Woodall, well that ol’ boy is intellectually challenged and is destined to be a one termer if the folks up in his neck of the woods have the good sense I believe they have.

His determination to make his illogical talking points in the town meeting the other day reminds me of an answer Richard Darman made regarding a statement President George Bush made.

Darman responded: “He didn’t say that. He was reading what was given to him in a speech.”

Well, you can’t argue with that kind of logic and it’s difficult to respond to the logic of Rob Woodall.

Aquagirl

May 25th, 2011
3:13 pm

…’Course, that was the style at the time, and you couldn’t get white onions because of the war, the only thing you could get were the big yellow ones. Anyhoo, so he was headed for Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days, and…..

Last Man Laying Down

May 25th, 2011
3:15 pm

Did Mr. Woodall campaign as a Tea Party follower? If he did, he surely stepped in it. But even those on the far sides of ideology are forgetful. Perhaps one day we’ll have, for the first time in our history, an honest discussion about a matter which will help bankrupt the country; providing government subsidized medical care to the seniors, the poor, the (elderly) rich and veterans. Until that time, all the lables thrown around by folks on the left and right do nothing more than contribute to the present dishonest discussion. Perhaps the old timers would do as Mr. Woodall should and refuse their government subsidized benefits.

Lynn

May 25th, 2011
3:16 pm

I’m happy to see that people are beginning to ask their representatives/senators to explain themselves. Rob Woodall’s eventual response indicates he isn’t used to explaining himself (and probably wasn’t expecting to do so). I recommend that all representatives and senators and mayors and what-have-you get used to answering the tough questions. I, for one, intend to make them earn their “free” healthcare.