Sunday, August 18, 2013

Contrary to What You May Hear, Congress Must Get Their Medical Insurance Coverage Through Obamacare!

Perhaps you have gotten one of these emails yourself. The author is very upset because:

"The federal Congress has just approved with the help of Obama to waiver all Congressmen and their staff from having to use the Obamacare exchanges." 

"For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress.  The latest is to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform that passed ... in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn't seem logical. We do not have an elite that is above the law. I truly don't care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever . The self-serving must stop".

The emails often go on to urge you to forward the email, so that we can pass the 28th Amendment to the US Constitution, so that all laws passed by Congress must apply to them as well.

The trouble with all of this outrage is, none of what the email says is true!

One of the provisions written into law with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly known as "Obamacare") passed by Congress is the requirement that lawmakers must give up the insurance coverage previously provided to them through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and instead purchase health insurance through the online exchanges that the law created. The exact wording contained in the law is noted below: 


(i) REQUIREMENT Notwithstanding any other provision of law, 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 (or an amendment made by this Act).

An August 2013 ruling by the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was widely and inaccurately reported as exempting members of Congress from this requirement, but,  that reporting was incorrect. Lawmakers are still required to purchase health insurance through government-created exchanges; what the OPM's ruling actually declared was that members of Congress and their staffs did not have to give up the federal contributions towards the costs of their insurance premiums which they had previously been receiving (and which are afforded to millions of other federal workers). 


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