Gingrey: Subsidy for Congress' Obamacare Payments 'Unfair'

Image: Gingrey: Subsidy for Congress' Obamacare Payments 'Unfair'

Wednesday, 11 Sep 2013 10:03 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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It's unfair for members of Congress and their staffs to get subsidies for their healthcare premiums, and the payments should be stopped before they begin, Georgia Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey said.

"This is yet another example of the Obama administration changing the law for political gain," said Gingrey, who along with other Republicans say the Office of Personnel Management is giving Congress an unfair advantage, reports The Washington Times.

Gingrey has introduced a bill to stop the subsidies, which would pay most of the premiums for members of Congress and their staffs who purchase insurance through Obamacare exchanges.

Congress was exempted from the brunt of Obamacare, critics say, because the American public gets less-generous subsidies without employer-based help.

Under the healthcare law, Congress and staffers must use the state health exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act, even though the exchanges are intended for people who cannot get affordable health insurance through their employers.

Under Obamacare, employers cannot subsidize premiums for coverage purchased through the exchanges. But Congress members and their staffs were exempted by the Office of Personnel Management.

The change was ordered as Congress was heading into the August recess, after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and others pressured President Barack Obama to make the allowance, reports The Weekly Standard.

Many members of Congress were angered when they learned they could no longer receive health benefits from the Federal Employee Health Benefit program, but must get their insurance through the exchanges.

Without the federal subsidies, members of Congress were looking at net pay cuts of $5,000 to $11,000 if they had to pay for their own insurance.

"This carve-out is unfair to the American people and must be reversed," Gingrey said on Tuesday.

Louisiana Republican David Vitter is leading a similar fight in the Senate against the special treatment for Congress.


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