Author Topic: Sen. Sessions Accepting Obamacare Subsidy: 'It’s Going to Be Considerably More Expensive for Me’  (Read 188 times)

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( – Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), whose salary is $174,000 a year, said he has purchased insurance on the District of Columbia small business exchange, and he will accept a taxpayer-funded subsidy to help him pay for that plan. asked Reid at the Capitol on Wednesday if he had purchased an Obamacare plan from the D.C. exchange.

“I did, yeah,” Sessions said. then asked Sessions if he would accept the subsidy -- up to $11,378 -- that is available to members of Congress, by order of the federal Office of Personnel Management.

“I will accept the subsidy, although it’s going to be considerably more expensive for me,” Sessions said. asked why he thought that accepting the subsidy is the right thing to do:

Sessions responded that he opposed the Affordable Care Act “from the beginning,” but he said the Office of Personnel Management had “ruled as proper” that members of Congress be offered the subsidy.

“[The] Office of Personnel Management said it was appropriate to, in effect, continue the subsidy that we had, which is what we’ve always had,” Sessions said. “But in addition I would say that it will cost members – most members – more.”

Members of Congress and congressional staff must enroll in health plans that were created by the Affordable Care Act or that are offered through an exchange established by the Act.

The law says private citizens buying an insurance plan in an Obamacare exchange can get a federal subsidy only if their income is less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level -- which equals $94,200 for a family of four.

However, as has reported, a regulation issued by the Office of Personnel Management allows members of Congress, who earn much more than $94,200, to get an "employer contribution" from the U.S. Treasury when they buy a health insurance plan in the exchange set up for small businesses in Washington, D.C.

That subsidy (tax credit) can run up to $11,378 per year for a family plan.

As has reported, some lawmakers say they have refused the subsidy that is unavailable to other Americans in the same income bracket.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sponsored the amendment forcing Members of Congress into the Obamacare exchanges. "“My goal, regardless of how the amendment was worded … was that we [in Congress] need to go into the exchange so that we would have to go through the same red tape as every other citizen,” Grassley told Roll Call in September.

Grassley also told Roll Call that he never intended for Members of Congress to lose their health insurance subsidy, but in drafting the amendment, Sen. Harry Reid's staffers omitted the relevant language.

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