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Capito proposes end to health subsidies for members of Congress

September 11, 2013
By JOSELYN KING - Special to the Herald-Star , The Herald-Star

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Members of Congress receive a 75-percent subsidy toward their health insurance, but legislation introduced by Rep. Shelley Moore Capito seeks to eliminate it beginning next year after the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, goes into effect.

Capito, R-Charleston, is the chief sponsor of House Resolution 3067, the "No Obamacare Subsidies for Members of Congress Act." The legislation would amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and states "no federal funds shall be expended" to provide health plan subsidies for those elected to the U.S. House and Senate.

Beginning in 2014, members of Congress are ineligible for participation in the federal employees' health system. Instead they must purchase their health care through plans created by the new health care law or offered through an insurance exchange, Capito said. The Office of Personnel Management decided in August that members could continue to receive the subsidies for insurance offered under Obamacare.

Other Americans who purchase exchange plans will only receive government support toward the purchase of an exchange plan if they earn less than 400 percent of the poverty level, Capito said. For example, a single individual who earns $46,000 will not qualify for a subsidy.

"Obamacare fundamentally changes the American health care system, leaving an estimated 7 million Americans without their employer-sponsored health care as a result," Capito said. "West Virginians will feel the pain of Obamacare through lost jobs and employer-sponsored insurance, reduced hours and higher premiums."

Members of Congress should not receive special treatment under Obamacare, she continued.

"As Americans across the country feel the pain of Obamacare ... it isn't fair for lawmakers to be treated any differently," she said. "Under my bill, members of Congress would be treated like any other American who purchases an individual health insurance policy from the exchange. As long as Obamacare remains law, members of Congress should not receive exchange subsidies that are not provided to other Americans."

 
 

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