by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Many Democratic congressional members and candidates call health care a human right but do not provide coverage for their campaign staffers, a Washington Free Beacon review of financial disclosures shows.
Rep. Kurt Schrader’s campaign site, for example, says the Oregon Democrat “understands that having access to health care should be a basic right for every single American.” He does not offer campaign employees a group health care plan, Federal Election Commission records show. Rep. Tom Malinowski’s (N.J.) site, meanwhile, calls health care a “human right” and argues “we need to treat it that way.” Fellow House Democrat Tom O’Halleran (Ariz.) has called health care a matter of “life or death … for many people.” The two Democrats have not provided health care to campaign staffers since January 2019 and January 2021, respectively.
The hypocrisy also applies to some of the Democratic Party’s top congressional recruits. California’s Jay Chen, Ohio’s Greg Landsman, and Michigan’s Hillary Scholten do not offer their employees group benefits, according to FEC disclosures. Chen has argued health care “should be a basic right,” while Landsman and Scholten have called it a “right” and “human right,” respectively. All three Democrats are featured on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “highly competitive” Red to Blue program.
Those Democrats’ decision not to provide health care for campaign employees is at odds with many of the party’s top members. Rep. Haley Stevens (D., Mich.), for example, began paying Blue Care Network of Michigan for employee health benefits in January, FEC records show. On the presidential campaign trail, Pete Buttigieg was the only top 2020 Democratic candidate to not provide coverage to his workers—he instead provided them a monthly stipend to buy insurance on their own. In addition to offering group benefits to their presidential campaign staff, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.), Cory Booker (D., N.J.), and Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) also extend health coverage to their Senate campaign workers, according to FEC records.