GOP looks to end subsidy for congressional health plans

Three House Republicans have proposed legislation that would end federal subsidies to members of Congress who are now forced to buy health insurance under ObamaCare.

Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) proposed the No Special Treatment for Members of Congress Act, H.R. 3853, along with Reps. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) and Steve Southerland (R-Fla.).

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The bill is a response to what many Republicans say is an "exemption" under ObamaCare for members. Thanks to a Republican amendment to the 2010 law, ObamaCare requires members and their staffs to buy insurance under a new health insurance exchange — last year, the Obama administration ruled that it must be bought on the Washington DC exchange.

The law also allows the federal government to continue offering an employer subsidy for these plans. Many Republicans say that gives members of Congress a significant financial benefit as they use the exchanges, one that no one else will get.

But supporters of the law say the exchanges were meant for people without insurance, and that forcing members to use them at all is a deviation from the law that was demanded for political reasons by Republicans.

Regardless of that dispute, Reed's bill would add specific language to ObamaCare saying that "no government contributions… shall be provided on behalf of an individual who is a Member of Congress for coverage made available to such individual…"