Senate Bill Requires Members of Congress to Buy Insurance Through the ExchangeNovember 19, 2009 - by Donny Shaw
As I pointed out in a previous post, one of the decisions Harry Reid had to make in reconciling the HELP Committee and Finance Committee was whether or not to require Members of Congress to purchase their insurance the same way everyone else does. The Finance Committee would have required all Members of Congress to give up their Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan and buy insurance through the new exchanges instead, while the HELP bill would allow them to keep their exclusive health care plans.
The final bill’s out, and Reid chose to include the Finance Committee language. Straight form the bill text:
(d) MEMBERS OF CONGRESS IN THE EXCHANGE.
(i) REQUIREMENT. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, after the effective date of this subtitle, the only health plans that the Federal Government may make available to Members of Congress and congressional staff with respect to their service as a Member of Congress or congressional staff shall be health plans that are
(I) created under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act); or
(II) offered through an Exchange established under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act).
(ii) DEFINITIONS. In this section:
(I) MEMBER OF CONGRESS. The term Member of Congress means any member of the House of Representatives or the Senate.
(II) CONGRESSIONAL STAFF. The term congressional staff means all full-time and part-time employees employed by the official office of a Member of Congress, whether in Washington, DC or outside of Washington, DC.