Originally, the Affordable Care Act had a provision (the Grassley Amendment) that would put members of Congress into the federal health care exchanges. Grassley’s intent was for member to keep their employer coverage provided by the federal government, but require they choose from the same choices others have on the exchanges. That got screwed up and there was some back-and-forth, but I have an idea…
Like most employers, the federal government pays a portion of the health insurance premiums for employees. I’m not sure of the exact number, but let’s say the federal government pays 70 percent of the employees health insurance costs. The balance is paid by the employee, the member in Congress.
Let’s go back and look at how much the federal government contributed for plans in 2013. As an example, let’s say the average health care premium for a member of Congress was $20,000 for the year. The employee pays $6,000 and the government (employer) pays $14,000.
Here is my idea. Let’s give the Congress-critters, the staff, the Executive Branch employees and heck, maybe everyone else who works for the federal government a raise on Jan. 1, 2014 equal to whatever the federal government paid towards health care premiums in 2013. In my example above, that was $14,000.
Then, tell them to buy health care insurance in the individual market place, based on their state of residence. Send them to the healthcare.gov website or their state’s health care website and let them shop and buy a policy like all of the other people who are doing that right now. In no way does this mean they loose the employer contribution to their health care plan for the simple fact they received a raise for the exact amount of the premium covered in 2012. They will continue to get that additional money, and will continue to receive merit or performance raises in the future as normal.
This shouldn’t be a problem at all …
- They keep telling us there are good options out there that provide better coverage than before. The exchanges are great, the choices are great, doctors love it.
- President Obama himself stated people would save $2,500 on health insurance premiums, so they can figure they would have an extra $2,500 in their pockets right? (OK, maybe this would be offset by the extra income taxes they would have to pay for the higher salary.)
- Congress-critters and federal employees don’t loose a thing, since they are fully subsidized through a direct raise in their income.
The idea I just proposed should have been, could have been a great amendment. Certainly, nobody in Congress would have a problem with my plan . Would they?
Well of course they would, since the premium increases from 2013 to 2014 are HUGE, even though Obama kept telling people their families premiums would be $2,500 lower. Look, the options suck, the premiums are high, the deductibles equal the price of some new cars, you have to buy coverage you don’t want or need, and there is a good chance your doctor won’t want to be involved so you’ll have to find a new one … that’s if you’re actually able to sign up.