Monday, May 08, 2017

The GOP plan probably won’t change Congress’s health care. Here’s why.

By Elise Viebeck May 5, 2017

Lawmakers and congressional staffers are unlikely to face higher premiums or fewer health-care benefits as a direct result of the House Republicans’ health-care plan for one big reason: They work in the District of Columbia.

That’s the conclusion of health-care experts who said that Congress’s 535 lawmakers and the thousands of Capitol Hill staffers who work for them won’t be much affected by the American Health Care Act, which passed the House narrowly on Thursday.

This is despite the House’s move to nullify a provision in the amended bill that originally exempting them from the plan’s changes, according to several health-care experts.

The AHCA would allow states to opt out of current rules requiring health plans to cover a set of essential benefits and preventing insurers from charging higher premiums to people with pre­existing conditions.

Members of Congress and their aides are unlikely to feel the effects of these changes, however, because they generally obtain health insurance through the small-group exchange operated by the District of Columbia. If the D.C. government continues to enforce the Affordable Care Act’s protections, which most experts believe it will, lawmakers and their staffers could end up with more robust and less expensive coverage than constituents in states that are not as friendly to Obamacare.

“Even though they’re no longer exempting themselves, I think the likelihood of any of them facing higher premiums for preexisting conditions or not having access to a comprehensive set of benefits is pretty unlikely,” said Cynthia Cox, associate director for the Program for the Study of Health Reform and Private Insurance at the Kaiser Family Foundation, in an interview.


The Obama-era law required members and staffers to buy insurance on an exchange rather than through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, as a way to ensure that Congress experienced the same perceived benefits and hardships under the law as the people they represented.


No comments:

Post a Comment