Fact Check

HR 615

House Resolution 615 would require members of Congress to participate in a public health care plan?

Published Nov. 3, 2009


Claim:   House Resolution 615 directs members of Congress to participate in a public health care plan.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, October 2009]

Subject: HR 615

On Tuesday, the Senate health committee voted 12-11 in favor of a two-page amendment, courtesy of Republican Tom Coburn which would require all Members of Congress and their staff members to enroll in any new
government-run health plan.

Congressman John Fleming has proposed an amendment that would require Congressmen and Senators to take the same health care plan that they would force on us. (Under proposed legislation they are exempt.)

Congressman Fleming is encouraging people to go to his Website and sign his petition. The process is very simple. I have done just that at:



Origins:   This item about House Resolution 615 has a kernel of truth to it, but some of the details have been misstated.

HR 615 is a bill put before Congress back in January 2009 to require manufacturers of engine coolant and antifreeze to put bittering agents in their products to render them unpalatable (because a primary
ingredient of those products, ethylene glycol, poses a poisoning danger due to its having a sweet taste that can appeal to children and animals).

HRES 615 is a resolution proposed by
Rep. John Fleming of

Louisiana (who is himself a physician) in July 2009. HRES 615 isn't an "amendment" to any particular bill, nor would its passage create any legally enforceable requirement; it is merely a non-binding resolution expressing the recommendation or opinion that members of Congress "who vote in favor of the establishment of a public, federal government run health insurance option" should voluntarily "forgo their right to participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and agree to enroll under that public option."

As of November 2009, HRES 615 had ninety-five co-sponsors (all Republicans). It was referred to the Committee on House Administration and has not been passed or put to a vote.

Last updated:   3 November 2009


    Jacobus, Cheri.   "Public Option for Congress."

    The Hill.   22 October 2009.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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