Members of Congress will enjoy a regulatory fix that ultimately saves them thousands of dollars by allowing the federal government to continue subsidizing their health plans.
Dozens of lawmakers had threatened to retire early or simply quit because of fears that their health insurance premiums would drastically increase as a result of a provision found in the healthcare law. The provision at issue is called the Grassley Amendment, which states that the government may only offer members of Congress and their staff health insurance plans that are “created” in the bill or “offered through an exchange.”
Currently, aides and lawmakers are covered under a very generous federal health insurance package whereby the government subsidizes approximately 75 percent of the premiums; however, by 2014, with the possibility of lawmakers and aides being put onto the exchanges, health insurance costs would have skyrocketed.
But President Obama has agreed to what is ultimately a congressional exemption from ObamaCare.
Market Watch reports, “The Office of Personnel Management [OPM] now plans to rule that the government can continue to make a contribution to the healthcare premiums of the lawmakers and their staff, according to unnamed congressional sources and a White House official.”
Prior to the resolution, members of Congress had become increasingly fearful that they would lose valuable employees and lawmakers as a result of the Grassley Amendment.
Jo Bonner (R-Ala.), who had already planned to resign from Congress, stated, “I’ve lost one staffer who told me in confidence that he had been here for a number of years and the thought of losing the opportunity to keep his health insurance on Dec. 31 [forced him to leave]. He could keep what he had and on Jan. 1 he would go into that big black hole. And then I’ve got another staff member that I think it will be a factor as she’s contemplating her future.”
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