There’s more that a dollop of selfishness and self-interest in the votes over and over by the Virginia GOP delegation in House of Representatives to repeal what they call “Obamacare.” One little noticed and under-reported section of that law requires members of Congress to get their health insurance in the same exchanges as the rest of us. So, they’re losing a sweet deal they had arranged for themselves, one unavailable to us.
Jesse Ferguson, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, stated, “House Republicans refuse to admit they voted to give themselves taxpayer-funded, lifetime-guaranteed health care, instead of having the same health care as their constituents.”
“Repeal looks like it’s worse than anyone would have thought,” a Democratic official said. “Not only are Republicans helping their insurance company donors, they’re also trying to help themselves.”
Right now, members of Congress and their staffs get their health insurance through the same program as other federal employees. That program enables them to keep the same health insurance policy when they retire from Congress. If we keep in mind that people in Congress become eligible for this benefit after five years, I guess it’s no surprise that Eric Cantor and his pals keep voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act and return to a system they had gamed for their own benefit. After all, they get some great perks.
The government pays two-thirds to three-quarters of the cost of the health insurance plan. Employees pay the rest, whether they are working or retired. Being excluded because of a pre-existing condition has always been forbidden.
One benefit members of Congress have that’s not available to other federal employees is visiting the Attending Physician of the US Congress for an annual fee of about $500. They can also opt for care at any military hospital or VA facility.
So, people in Congress have always had many advantages the rest of us didn’t have: an exchange offering many plans in competition with one another, the knowledge that a pre-existing condition won’t mean cancellation of insurance coverage, a cozy HMO with the staff of the Attending Physician, and even access to the only “socialized medicine” in America, the VA system.
No wonder the GOPers don’t care about repealing the Affordable Care Act. Long ago, they covered their own backsides. As for the rest of us, to paraphrase Rhett Butler, “Frankly, my dear, they just don’t give a damn.”