|« Bush's Heart Procedure Puts Spotlight On Stenting||Taking Antioxidant Supplements Won't Help Women Conceive, Study Finds »|
Good news about health care reform! Well, good if you’re working on Capitol Hill, anyway…
A ruling by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) approved the continuation of federal contributions to members of Congress and their staff when they buy insurance through health insurance exchanges, Reuters reports.
The decision, supported by President Obama, corrects a snafu that lawmakers overloked during the run-up to pass health care reform in 2010. To get more Republicans on board, Democrats approved an amendment by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Ia.) that required Congress to use the same exchanges available to regular Americans.
A noble gesture, to be sure. Trouble is, no one bothered to add language that ensured Congress would continue to receive federal contributions toward their health plans, which would cover about 75% of the premium costs. That error led to concerns that higher health care costs would incite staff members to leave federal service – a crisis presumably thwarted by the OPM’s action.
Lawmakers and staff still must purchase plans on the exchanges for coverage that starts in January, OPM said, and they will not be eligible for tax credits to offset premium payments.