Explaining How Much of Congress Members’ Health Care Costs Paid by Taxpayers

April 17, 2017 10:28 am
Ambulances parked in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington DC. (Getty Images)


Whatever may happen to the Affordable Care Act in the future, one thing seems certain: Americans don’t need to worry about their members of Congress having solid health care—primarily at their expense.

Amid all the assertions from the lawmakers themselves, the Washington Post fact-checked those claims, breaking down what can seem to be confusing (and often partisan) math.

The Federal Employees Health Benefit Program once ensured the federal government covered roughly 70 percent of insurance premiums for lawmakers and their staff members. Then the ACA required them to join health-care exchanges. This was seemingly a problem since they generally make too much money to qualify for subsidies… except the Obama administration allowed them to use the D.C. small-business exchange to receive health-care stipends from their employer. (Their employer, of course, is that noted small business known as the “federal government.”)

The result: a taxpayer contribution that averages to 72 percent for their premiums.

Some members of congress claim they donate to charity an amount equivalent to the subsidy. Some staffers on congressional committees may be covered under the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program.

But in general, members of congress are getting an even higher amount of their premiums covered, all courtesy of taxpayers.


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