GOP Bill Would Require Federal Workers To Buy Coverage via Exchanges
On Friday, House Republicans introduced a bill (HR 1780) that would amend the Affordable Care Act to require all federal employees purchase health insurance through the health insurance exchanges created by the ACA, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.
The bill -- sponsored by House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp (R-Mich.), along with Reps. Charles Boustany (R-La.), Kevin Brady (R-Texas), Sam Johnson (R-Texas), Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) -- was introduced in response to rumors that Republican and Democratic leaders have discussed exempting lawmakers and their staffs from the requirement (Viebeck, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 4/26).
The rumor began last week when Politico reported that congressional leaders have been holding "high-level, confidential talks about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides" from having to participate in the ACA's exchanges. However, Adam Jentleson, a spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), denied that such discussions were taking place.
Instead, lawmakers were discussing how to address concerns about whether lawmakers and their staffs will be able to use their current employer contribution under the exchanges.
The issue stems from a provision -- developed by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) -- in the ACA that requires lawmakers and members of their staff to obtain health coverage through the exchanges (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 4/25).
However, the Office of Personnel Management has yet to determine whether congressional employees will be able to continue receiving their existing employer contribution, which now helps them obtain coverage through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (Hook, "Washington Wire," Wall Street Journal, 4/25).
About the Bill
Camp's bill would expand the amendment's original language to require all federal employees to purchase coverage through the exchanges. Under the bill, active-duty military and postal workers would be exempt.
Sarah Swinehart, a spokesperson for Camp, in a statement said, "If the Obamacare exchanges are good enough for the hardworking Americans and small businesses the law claims to help, then they should be good enough for the president, vice president, Congress and federal employees" ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 4/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.