Sen. Graham pledges to forgo employer contribution on healthcare

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced Monday that he would not seek an employer contribution from the federal government to help cover the cost of some of his healthcare.

"I don't think Members of Congress should get a special deal," Graham said in a statement. "ObamaCare is being pushed on the American people and we should live under it just like everyone else."

Republicans have sought to frame the employer contribution as a carve out under the federal healthcare law for government workers. Like most workers who get coverage through their employers in the private sector, the federal government partially subsidizes healthcare plans for public employees.

Graham said Monday he would enroll in South Carolina’s federally run healthcare exchange. Had he enrolled in the Washington, D.C., exchange, he would’ve been eligible for a federal subsidy. 

The South Carolina Republican said that his healthcare costs will go up $400 a month under his new plan, but his office did not say how much of that would have been covered by the employer contribution.

A spokesman for Graham said the spike in the senator’s costs was age related; a 58-year-old man in Oconee County, S.C., is more expensive to cover under the healthcare law than a 25-year-old man.

“In addition, my health care coverage will be a fraction of what it used to be,” Graham said. “Sadly, I'm not the only one who will feel the negative effects of ObamaCare. It's happening all over South Carolina.”

Graham is facing primary challenges from a number of candidates in 2014. He’s recently struggled with low approval ratings among Republicans in his home state.

"The worst is yet to come,” Graham concluded on ObamaCare. “But I will continue my fight to repeal, replace, defund and allow Americans to opt-out of this horrible government program," concluded Graham.”