Taxpayers footing bill for Foley alcohol rehab

A taxpayer funded medical plan covers the type of alcohol rehabilitation program that former Rep. Mark Foley is using, a spokeswoman for the clerk’s office at the U.S. House of Representatives said Friday.

“Most, if not all (lawmakers), have some coverage as far as rehabilitation for drug and alcohol,” said Salley Collins, a spokeswoman for the House clerk’s office.

When Foley selected an insurance plan he could have chosen from six fee-for-service providers, Collins said. Each provider has two to four plans to choose from. Lawmakers also have the option of choosing a health maintenance organization _ or HMO _ plan from their home state, Collins said.

Collins said she could not reveal Foley’s specific medical plan.

The former congressman, however, is currently covered by “temporary continuation of coverage,” a limited program available to federal employees who lose their coverage when they leave or resign from their jobs.

Foley can continue receiving health care benefits under that plan for up to 18 months, said Pete Sepp, a vice president of communications for the National Taxpayers Union.

It is unclear where Foley is being treated for alcoholism and behavior problems. In a letter released by his lawyer earlier this month, Foley said he had entered a “renowned in-patient facility to address my disease and related issues.” The lawyer, David Roth, has said Foley will be treated for 30-days.

Roth could not be reached for comment Friday.

In-patient treatment at alcohol facilities can be expensive. At the Betty Ford Center, one of the best-known alcohol and drug treatment facilities in the country, a 30-day stay has a price tag of $21,000.

The Hanley Center in West Palm Beach, Fla., typically charges about $23,000 a month for treatment programs that normally last 30-36 days. Insurance policies are factored into the treatment costs, and usually cover a percentage of the price. If a patient’s insurance company discontinues its coverage, the center has funds that cover the remaining cost of the treatment.

(Contact Amie Parnes at parnesa(at)