This fall while members of Congress toil in the U.S. Capitol, working to decide how or even whether to reform the country's health care system, one floor below them an elaborate Navy medical clinic -- described by those who have seen it as something akin to a modern community hospital -- will be standing by, on-call and ready to provide Congress with some of the country's best and most efficient government-run health care.
Through interviews with former employees and members of Congress, as well as extensive document searches, ABC News has learned new details about the services offered by the Office of Attending Physician to members of Congress over the past few years, from regular visits by a consulting chiropractor to on-site physical therapy.
"A member walked in and was generally walked right back into a physician's office. They get good care. They are not rushed. They are examined thoroughly," said Eduardo Balbona, an internist in Jacksonville, Fla., who worked as a staff physician in the OAP from 1993 to 1995.
Members of Congress do not pay for the individual services they receive at the OAP, nor do they submit claims through their federal employee health insurance policies. Instead, members pay a flat, annual fee of $503 for all the care they receive. The rest of the cost of their care, sources said, is subsidized by taxpayers.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Little known office on Capitol Hill provides quality health care at a low cost: