Fact Check: Congress, staff are exempt from Obamacare
September 25th, 2013
03:51 PM ET
11 months ago

Fact Check: Congress, staff are exempt from Obamacare

ASSERTION:
President Obama exempted members of Congress from Obamacare.

“President Obama recently issued a special rule for Congress and congressional staff to get a special subsidy to purchase health insurance on the Obamacare Exchange unavailable to every other American at similar income levels,” said Republican Sen. David Vitter. “That’s an exemption, plain and simple.”

FACTS:
When Obamacare was passed into law, Sen. Charles Grassley, the Iowa Republican, attached language to the bill that mandated members of Congress and their staffers would have to buy health insurance on the newly created health insurance exchanges. What nobody accounted for at the time was that members of Congress and their staffers currently have health insurance through their employer – the federal government. No other employer has been legally required to drop its employee’s health care plan and have them buy coverage on the exchanges.

Like most other large employers, the federal government contributes a portion to the premiums of its employees. In fact, like many employers, the federal government pays most of the premiums for its workers; an average of 72 percent on Capitol Hill. The law didn’t account for the continued employer contribution for these federal workers who would now be buying their insurance on the exchanges. The exchanges were designed to help people without health insurance and people with overly expensive health insurance. It became clear that without their employer contribution, members and their staffers would essentially be getting a cut in pay and benefits equal to thousands of dollars. Even Grassley, the provision’s author, had said the government should continue to contribute to lawmakers’ and staffers’ premiums. What the Obama administration has done is ruled that the congressional workers will continue to receive the employer contribution to help them buy their insurance on the exchange.

VERDICT:

False. Congress is no more exempt than any other employer who drops coverage and then helps employees purchase insurance on the exchanges.


Filed under: Fact Check Obamacare • Health care
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Cue the I told you so dance.

    Eat crow, RWNJs.

    And how many times did I have to post this very thing before CNN saw fit to do its job? Journalism....ha!

    /popcorn

    September 25, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    FALSE. But, the right wing will continue to promote the lie, anyway. Facts have never stopped them before.

    September 25, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. O'drama ya Mama

    This article was a waste of time. Clearly no matter what facts are presented the GOP/Tea establishment will think otherwise.

    September 25, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  4. somebody

    Too bad this article won't stop the RWNJ's from continuing to spew the lie.

    September 25, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. lolo

    Now the Republicans did not talk about this did they? Once a hypocrit always a hypocrit. I am so sick of the GOP losers. 2014 can't get here fast enough. You can fool your followers with this crap, but the rest of America will not stand for it. All the while they are getting all of the benefits and the rest of America is drowning. They are so full of it.

    September 25, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. the hippies were right

    Poor GOP and Fox "spews", everything they try ends up a lie and just fizzled out. Here is my list off the top of my head of topics that started with a scream and threats and gloom and doom, but turned into a whimper: Birthers, taking bullets away, taking guns away, destroying economy, destroying Medicare, IRS "scandal", Benghazi, Libya, terrorists are getting stronger, wants to kill grandma, Syria, Socialism, Communism, destroying fossil fuel industry, billion dollar trips to foreign countries, outrageous tax hikes, alternative energy not working, bail out GM won't work, weak on foreign policy, Romney and Ryan saviors of the world. Help me out, I'm sure there are many more. Don't you GOP sheep feel stupid by now?

    September 25, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  7. Data Driven

    FACT! - Congresscritters aren't exempt from the law!

    September 25, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  8. The Real Tom Paine

    And we are going to accept the word of a client of the DC Madame on anything? And to think he's still in office with the full blessing of the GOP.

    September 25, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  9. elderd

    Who's paying for your subsidy? Who's paying for there's?

    September 25, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  10. Gurgyl

    Neither senate nor congress is Exempt. Read this law precisely.

    September 25, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |