There they go again. As the nation inches closer to making affordable, quality health care available to millions of Americans, House Republicans have put both feet on the accelerator to shut down the government and are teetering on the edge of redefining insanity.
Now, the GOP is preparing to vote for the 45th time to undermine or weaken the Affordable Care Act, claiming that Members and congressional staffers are receiving “an exemption” and don’t deserve “special treatment.”
But according Norm Ornstein, conservative scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, the GOP has it WRONG.
“On the assertion that Members of Congress are exempt from the provisions of the Affordable Care Act: also false. Members of Congress are subject under the health care reform law to the same mandate that others are to purchase insurance, and their plans must have the same minimum standards of benefits that other insurance plans will have to meet. Members of Congress currently have not a gold-plated free plan but the same insurance options that most other federal employees have, and they do not have it provided for free.”
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities also agreed that GOP’s exemption claim is FALSE.
… members of Congress and their staffs will not receive extra financial help to pay for their medical care.
Critics are angry because the administration has confirmed that members of Congress and their staffs can continue to receive employer contributions to cover part of their premium costs. But that’s not special treatment. Today, most large employers do the same — the federal government, which provides coverage for members of Congress, their staffs and other federal employees, is no different.
In reality, it’s the critics — as part of their ongoing assault on the health care law — who are seeking special treatment for Congress, by proposing to make members and their staffs the only workers in the United States whose employer is barred by law from helping to cover their premiums.
Today, the Office of Personnel Management finalized its rule implementing the provisions of the Affordable Care Act providing that Members and their staff will go into the Marketplace to obtain their health insurance. Additionally, they “won’t be eligible for subsidies to buy insurance regardless of their income, although they’ll be able to receive a federal employer contribution.” In providing that Members and their staff will receive an employer contribution, OPM is reaffirming the intent of the policy’s original sponsor by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), who has publicly said that he “didn’t intend for [lawmakers and staff] to lose the employer subsidy.” [Roll Call, 9/26/13]
At least two Republicans – Reps. Kristi Noem and Rodney Davis – have accepted the facts and pushed back against the GOP’s false claim. So why don’t the others follow suit and end this GOP shutdown charade? They don’t have to take their colleagues’ word for it – or the word of Greenstein, Ornstein or OMB.
A quick Google search says it all. #TruthHurts.
FactCheck.org: No ‘Special Subsidy’ for Congress
Congress isn’t “exempt” from the law. It wasn’t exempt back in 2010, when we first debunked such a claim; nor were lawmakers exempt in May when the bogus bit surfaced again. Three months later, they’re still not exempt. In fact, as we’ve said before, lawmakers and their staffs face additional requirements that other Americans don’t. And the “special subsidy” to which Pittenger refers is simply a premium contribution that his employer, the federal government, has long made to the health insurance policies of its workers.
Politifact.com: Sen. Ted Cruz says Obama ‘just granted all of Congress an exception’ to Obamacare – RATED FALSE
Cruz, reeling off signs Obamacare’s “wheels are coming off,” said the president “just granted all of Congress an exception.”
That sounds like lawmakers get to opt out of health care under the law. Quite the opposite — they’ll use new marketplaces alongside the uninsured and small businesses, just as it required.
National Review: The Obamacare Non-Exemption
They haven’t been “exempted” from the amendment that forces them onto the exchanges, in a way no other American is…
The net result of the law and the workaround isn’t a “special handout” for congressional employees…
…people who happen to be paid by the federal treasury don’t deserve to have the entire value of their existing coverage stripped away, as almost no Americans will experience.
Kaiser Health News: Checking The Facts Behind Obamacare Claims
Claim: Congress is exempt from the law. Members of Congress and their staffs get insured through the Federal Employees Health Benefits program. But the act requires members and their staffs to buy insurance through the marketplace that opens on Oct. 1.