Members of Congress and their staffers have just been granted permission to not have to be treated like the rest of the country when it comes to complying with mandatory health care rules under Obamacare.
Under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, beginning Jan. 1 all Americans will be required to have health insurance. The plans are not permitted to simply be a plan of the person’s choosing, but must meet government requirements for basic coverage.
During the contentious debate on the law, lawmakers approved an amendment offered by Republican Sen. Charles Grassley that required members of Congress as well as their staff to forgo their generous health plans that are not available to the average American and instead purchase their insurance through the state exchanges that are expected to open Oct. 1.
However, as the deadline for enrolling in the exchanges was rapidly approaching and it appears the system is nowhere near meeting expectations, Congress began to get cold feet. Congressional leaders such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi warned of a “brain drain” where staffers would quit their jobs and go work for the private sector if they were forced to live by the same rules as everyone else.
Currently the average annual salary is $174,000 for congressman and $70,000 for staffers. Additionally, the government pays 75 percent of their healthcare premiums regardless of the amount of the person’s salary.
Under Obamacare everyday Americans are granted subsidies to help pay their insurance, however the amounts are not as generous as those for Congress. For a family of four, the subsidy cap is $94,000.
Last Friday, the government’s Office of Personnel Management announced it was issuing a rule that would let staffers and members of Congress keep their perk and retain their 75 percent coverage for their premiums rather than be forced to live under the caps their constituents have.
When the news first broke on Friday, the mainstream media chose not to cover the story. However, after the news stirred outrage in the talk radio and conservative community, Reuters finally reported on the story on Wednesday.
Rush Limbaugh, the top radio talk show host in America said the government’s actions amount to congressional welfare.
“Subsidies are also available to regular American people, but the subsidy cap is 94 grand on a family of four,” Limbaugh said. “These people are gonna get 75% subsidies, well above the salary of $92,000. It’s congressional welfare.”
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