No special treatment for Congress in health-care law

The health-care law strips members of Congress and their aides of their insurance plans and forces them to buy plans offered in their districts.


No matter whether you support or oppose the 2010 Affordable Care Act, you may take some comfort in knowing the bill puts members of Congress and their staffs in the same situation as many of their constituents.

The law allows everyone to keep their health-care plan if they want to. Everyone except the federal lawmakers and their employees. They will have to find a plan sold through the new exchanges in their districts or place of residence.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, added this amendment in the hope it would serve as a poison pill and kill the bill. While Grassley opposed the health-care bill he said he believed politicians should live with their own laws.

Since the bill was passed and signed into law, members of Congress and their staffs will lose their federal coverage on Dec. 31. They will begin an open enrollment period on Oct. 1.

While the lawmakers and their aides will have to find insurance just like those in their districts who are uninsured, they will still retain the benefit worth up to 75 percent of premiums to a maximum of $4,962 for one person and $11,049 for a family, according to a Seattle Times story.

But they will also come face to face with a provision that allows insurance companies to vary premiums based on age. The oldest consumers will pay up to three times as much as younger people, the Seattle Times reported. Since the average age is 62 in the Senate and 57 in the House, the lawmakers will be on the upper end while their staff members, many of whom are in their 20s and 30s, may see a reduction in costs.

“I think it’s good to see lawmakers personally invested in this reform,” said Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash. “Luckily for me, Washington state has been a consistent leader in implementing the health reform legislation and committed to affordable coverage for all, so I am confident that our new system will be a success.”

His opinion was not shared by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodger, R-Wash. “This is the Democrat’s law and this is the Democrats’ fix. My proposed solution is to get rid of the entire law.”

That has been tried unsuccessfully nearly 40 times in three years. Doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. It’s time to quit whining and find a way to live with it. This time, Congress will have to live with it too.

Maybe that should be part of any proposed legislation in the future.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment

Click here to sign in