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Robert Longley

Yes, Obamacare Does Apply to Congress

By June 6, 2013

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Contrary to those massively forwarded and re-forwarded emails, members of the U.S. Congress are NOT exempt from the health care reform law - Obamacare. In fact, the law will require them to make some changes most Americans will not.

Unlike other currently-insured Americans, the members of Congress and their employees will actually lose their existing health care coverage in 2014, due to a provision in the Obamacare law.

Currently covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, the members of Congress and their aids will be required to either switch to a plan from one of the Obamacare-created health insurance exchanges or pay for their own private health insurance plan.

Also See: Congressional Salaries and Benefits

Specifically, Section 1312(d)(i), of the Affordable Care Act states: "... after the effective date of this subtitle, the only health plans that the Federal Government may make available to Members of Congress and congressional staff with respect to their service as a Member of Congress or congressional staff shall be health plans that are -- (I) created under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act); or (II) offered through an Exchange established Under this Act."

Also contrary to emails claiming otherwise, there are currently no bills in Congress that would exempt Congress members from this Affordable Care Act requirement.

Of course, there will be one significant difference between members of Congress and most Americans who will be required to get health insurance from one of the Obamacare exchanges: Members of Congress will not have to pay for it. Insurance coverage from one of the exchanges will be offered to members of Congress as part of their salary and benefit package.

Denizens of Capitol Hill who will not be required to switch their insurance coverage due to the Affordable Care Act include anyone - including members of Congress -- on Medicare, persons employed by either congressional committees or congressional leaders, and as it stands right now, the president and vice president.

What About President Obama, Himself?

The above provision of the Affordable Care Act does not apply to the President of the United States, and even if President Obama voluntarily switches his coverage to one of the exchanges, as he has said he would, the act would be largely symbolic.

Since the American Revolution, the official physician to the president, as director of the White House Medical Unit created in 1945, has provided what the White House calls "worldwide emergency action response and comprehensive medical care to the president, the vice president and their families." Sort of the ultimate health care plan.

Also See:
Obamacare and 'Death Panels' - The Facts
Your Congressman's Allowance

Comments

December 31, 2013 at 4:44 pm
(1) bill murray says:

if Obama care is so good ,why doesn’t the govt get off the old plan and jump on the new?

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