Senator Chuck Grassley didn't take kindly to President Barack Obama's weekly radio address about the need to accomplish health care reform this year. Early this morning, Grassley wrote on his Twitter feed,
Pres Obama you got nerve while u sightseeing in Paris to tell us"time to deliver" on health care. We still on skedul/even workinWKEND.
A little later, the senator Tweeted,
Pres Obama while u sightseeing in Paris u said 'time to delivr on healthcare' When you are a "hammer" u think evrything is NAIL I'm no NAIL
First of all, Obama recorded the weekly address before leaving for France. Second, it's bizarre for Grassley to mock Obama's "sightseeing in Paris," as if that were the main purpose of his foreign visit. You can be sure that if Obama had not gone to France to commemorate the D-Day invasion, Republicans would be howling in protest.
Perhaps Grassley is venting because this week the president strongly affirmed his support for a public option in health care reform. Grassley has been working to forge a bipartisan consensus with no public option and published an op-ed in the Iowa City Press-Citizen on Friday warning against that approach. (Chase Martyn's take on Grassley's piece is worth reading.)
Or maybe Grassley's just a little touchy lately. He wrote a letter to the editor of the Des Moines Register correcting a mistake from the Register's vox-pop feature, "My 2-cents' worth":
In the Register's Your 2 Cents' Worth feature May 4, "Disgusted 50010 Woman" said I pay $40 a month for health insurance. In fact, I pay $356 a month for Blue Cross insurance coverage, a plan that is available to federal employees. This differs from health plans for state government employees in Iowa, where no portion of the premium is paid by the employee. There's no basis for the assertion in her comments.
Fair enough, senator. But you have to admit, you've got a pretty good deal going. A couple half your age who purchase their own Blue Cross insurance plan could easily pay two or three times as much in premiums for comprehensive coverage. Even a bare-bones policy covering primarily catastrophic care could cost individuals more than $356 a month, and they'd have to pay out of pocket for most routine medical expenses and prescription drugs.
Natasha Chart recently looked into her health insurance options as a single 34-year-old woman. If she can afford it, she'll pay $200 to $300 a month for less coverage than what members of Congress receive. I encourage Senator Grassley to read her post.
UPDATE: Greg Sargent received clarification from Grassley's office about what the senator meant to convey in the hammer/NAIL tweet:
Senator Grassley has been urging the President to let the legislative process work so that health care reform legislation restructuring 17 percent of America's economy will reflect broad consensus and garner bipartisan support from as many as 80 senators.