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Capitol Hill Responds To Congressional Exemption Rumors

04/26/13

  05:18:55 pm, by MedBen5   , 303 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Capitol Hill Responds To Congressional Exemption Rumors

A Politico article earlier this week that claimed Congressional leaders were discussing ways to exempt lawmakers and their aides from health insurance exchanges – a requirement under the Affordable Care Act – has put Capital Hill Democrats on the defensive.

According to a follow-up story in Roll Call, talk about possible exemptions arose from concerns by Congressional staff members that the federal government will not be able to contribute money toward their premiums when the exchanges start next year – leaving them to cover 100% of the cost of their health premiums.

“There are not now, have never been, nor will there ever be any discussions about exempting members of Congress or Congressional staff from Affordable Care Act provisions that apply to any employees of any other public or private employer offering health care,” a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid,(D-NV) said in a statement.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-IA), who opposed the health care reform law, added the mandate to the ACA so that Congress would be forced to deal personally with its effects. Now, Republicans are saying that rather than look for a work-around solution, Congressional leaders should just repeal the entire law.

“Obamacare is a train wreck,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-SC) said in a statement. “Congress shouldn’t be able to get out of Obamacare until everyone else does.”

In talking points sent out to counter such charges, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s communications director Drew Hammill said “Leader Pelosi has suggested as a possible fix to the Grassley language that all Members and all staff (committee, leadership and personal office) be required to choose exchange plans through the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan. This fix would not require legislation and could be dealt with administratively and would not exempt Members or staff from any part of the ACA.”

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