Obamacare Exemptions: Is Congress Exempt?

    September 30, 2013
    Erika Watts
    Comments are off for this post.

So far several rumors have been spread in an attempt to get citizens to take a stand against Obamacare (also known as the Affordable Care Act) and ask their Congressmen to repeal the law. We’ve heard about the death panels that were going to leave the elderly and disabled out to dry and about healthcare rationing, both of which are myths.

The latest story that is making rounds while the threat of a government shutdown looms (again) is that members of Congress will be exempt under Obamacare, which has certainly riled up some people. After all, if Obamacare isn’t good enough for Congress, it’s not good enough for us, right? As it turns out, that’s not quite the truth, which is a lot less interesting than the rumor that has left many outraged:

According to Republican Senator David Vitter, “President Obama recently issued a special rule for Congress and congressional staff to get a special subsidy to purchase health insurance on the Obamacare Exchange unavailable to every other American at similar income levels,” said Vitter. “That’s an exemption, plain and simple.”

There are several exemptions under Obamacare, but Congress members aren’t on the list:

Individuals who cannot afford coverage.
Individuals with household income below the filing threshold.
Members of federally recognized Indian tribes.
Individuals who experience a hardship.
Individuals who experience a short coverage gap.
Members of certain religious sects.
Members of a health care sharing ministry.
Incarcerated individuals.
Individuals who are not lawfully present.

Vitter is right that there is a special provision for Congress, but calling it an exemption doesn’t fit the bill, especially not in the way most people think when they hear about Obamacare exemptions. According to The Hill, members of Congress and their staff won’t be allowed to get coverage under the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan (the insurance plan they’re currently on) under Obamacare. Instead, they will have to purchase their insurance through the Obamacare exchange.

So, no, Congress isn’t exempt under Obamacare–at least not in the way you probably thought. Should there be any provisions for Congress under the Affordable Care Act? You decide, but at least rest easy knowing that no matter what happens at midnight tonight, that things aren’t quite as bad as you thought.

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  • Anna

    As a registered republican I am ashamed that this party has members that put politics first and not the citizens.
    The universal health care in this country has been way overdue… Blackmailing the president is not a way to get their way. By no means should the president give in to these tactics. He has negotiated enough in his administration. Republican members that are playing games must be taken out office. What a shame…

    • steve

      Nice try! But even the unions are diving off this boat. I have been to Great Britain and Canada and have friends in both locations. If it comes down to life and death they will NOT use universal healthcare. They fly to the USA. This is not healthcare, just another way for government to use our money without having to pay interest. BTW, do u really expect us to believe ur a Republican???

    • Vicki

      You are crazy. I was always a Democrat but now I am Republican. we have a group of Democrats who want everyone else to pay for things. Our Americans need to get off the A… and do some hard work , like I have done.

      • Lenetta

        It would be nice if we could forget the Democrat/Republican forever. Both Parties look out for themselves. THEY DO NOT CARE for the middle class, only the lower class. It will always be a competition – NEVER what is best for the nation. We are a country in SEVERE debt and ACA will make it worse. Just think when people didn’t have medical insurance, they only went to the Dr. when they absolutely had to. No they will be able to go at anytime. WHO IS PAYING FOR THIS – oh yeah, the middle class. Also, if it is good enough for the middle class, it is good enough for Congress/Senate, etc. Please remember, they were elected. Together we can FIRE them all.

        • Sue Endsley

          You are totally wrong. There IS someone who cares for all of us. President Obama has given so much of his life, even before he became President, to the poor and down-trodden and since, he has suffered daily because the wealthy have tried to beat him down by seeing that nothing will pass congress that would help this country. If anyone, anywhere has a Christian heart, it is the President.

    • D G

      You should be ashamed, with all the lies the President has told on national TV, if you think it is so good for the country why6 don’t you become a democrat!

    • Donna

      I too agree that we need some type of national healthcare. This is not it. There will be too many people with subsidies and not enough middle class to pay for them. So where does the $$$$ come from to pay the Dr. bills? Has anyone taken a look @ Medicare? My parents are on it and they totally take advantage of it. Medicare will send out a home nurse for upper body physical therapy and a separate nurse for lower body therapy. Really??? What a waste of $$$$. Also the Primary Dr. orders the same tests over & over. I keep telling my Parents there will be no Medicare for me because they spent all the $$$$. They feel entitled as do ALL of their friends. There is no reason on earth for the elderly to get bloodwork done several times a year.

  • c m bova

    Why is the government forcing this down our throats. The majority of Americans do not want it. Most do not want Socialized medicine – most do not want the government making these decisions for us – we have never been a socialized nation. We ALL want Americans to have access to great healthcare and the system needs fixing – but NOT with socialized medicine. This administration is totally out of control and it needs to be stopped.

    • Don Edwards

      You sound like you have never seen socialized medicine let alone ever experienced it have seen it first hand and I think it is better to pay a little ore in taxes and be covered n ay less taxes and not have any insurance. At least socialized medicine everyone pays the same and everyone has the same coverage. In Canada it is not totally socialized medicine if you can afford private insurance you can get it but if not at least you’re covered

    • D G

      It has nothing to do with fairness! It is about legacy; remember this was also a partisan bill when passed, plus the backroom deals to get the bill to become law in the first place. This is the largest tax, and biggest travesty in American history!
      Thanks Barrack

    • Sue Endsley

      Obamacare is NOT socialized; everyone will have to pay, some less than others. Are you aware that your tax-dollar has been paying 40 to 60 percent of the premiums on the “cadillac” plans Congress has enjoyed forever? Isn’t it time they had to pay all theirs? Evidently the majority of America wants Obamacare; a majority of these Americans did elect Obama, knowing that with him would come his idea of this same healthcare plan. Duh.

  • Jorel Krypton

    According to this article, Congress will no longer have their own health plan: “…members of Congress and their staff won’t be allowed to get coverage under the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan (the insurance plan they’re currently on)”.

    Does that also mean that they will not receive subsidized health care benefits after they leave office? I don’t think so. They’ll get their perks and the taxpayer will be footing the bill until they die.

    This whole bunch needs to be swept into Chesapeake Bay.

  • P B

    These pigs get away with it and sign up for a premium healthcare that we get to pay for and we get the crap that they don’t want but tell us its real good. Bullcrap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • TMac

    Look at that list again.

    “Incarcerated individuals.
    Individuals who are not lawfully present.”

    People in prison and illegal aliens are exempt. That alone should make you want to repeal this pos.

  • gary

    If you don’t have to follow a law, than you are exempt from it.
    Congress does not have to follow it if they receive their 75% subsidy.
    Those whose income is of a certain amount have no subsidy from the govt- except for congress.
    But it can’t really be a law. If it were, no single individual (including the President of the United States) has the authority to make changes to the law on his/her own. This has been done many times with the ACA.
    Uhhh… didn’t you leave out a few exempt groups?

  • Socal

    Very simple! any healthcare reform which does not cut off the hands of the group of people who contribute nothing to healthcare (namely, insurance companies and Lawyers) from getting the healthcare money is a bad one. That is the reason we spend so much money per capita in healthcare compare with other countries.

  • Ty

    Sounds like an exemption to me.

  • http://Yahoo Darrell

    This speaks to the lack of intelligence in this country. There is NO common sense. This is a BAD law/tax…call it what you will. I have yet to find a person who wants this…yet the government SHOVES it down our throat. I don’t necessarily agree with the “politics” of the whole thing but ALL of them are more concerned with winning the next election more than they are worried about what is BEST for the American People!
    Vote them ALL out!

  • Ronald Reese

    Our so called leaders have gotten out of control. They have come to believe that they are in charge. They work for the people, and they have forgotten that. They think that they are above the people. It may be time to remove them from office. Impeachment. If they are willing to put ordinary people out work without a second thought, then they should be out of work first. That would teach them to do what the American people pay them to do. If they can’t do their job, they should be laid-off before the other people. If it laid on their shoulders, instead of the general public, then they might do their job! They get away with things that the American people never get away with. What is wrong with that picture? They work for us. They think that we work for them. Wrong. Read the Constitution. They work for us. We have to demand to have that back. They feel that they never have to answer to the people. This is because the people have stopped holding them accountable. We have to hold them accountable, or they get out of control. Remember that they work for us, not us for them. Please stand up for your rights. Please hold your representatives accountable. They will hold you accountable. Make them do what we pay them to do. Do you earn your pay? Make them earn theirs.

    • michael ellington

      for get that idea obamacare is for everyone else period.

  • richard watkins

    yeah, all this government is doing is making ya’ll watch the right hand while the left hand is stealing from the cookie jar. their running the biggest ponzi scheme ever thought of. they print up money at their own will, then sell bonds to forgin countries over an over. in Aug. of 1971 when Nixon stopped making them have gold to back up the dollar, is where everything started going south….

  • Christo

    It’s a law. That’s the bottom line; it has been passed into law and the last straw has been pulled when the Supreme Court validated ACA. Their decision was just a very poor legal precedent and now those of us who choose not to have coverage are going to be taxed extremely over the ensuing years – so healhcare as you have known it will never be again. Those who are poor will have great healthcare, courtesy of workin folks and the wealthy ill have great healthcare coutesy of their financial capacitie and those of us in the middle will be burdened with a heavy tax. I won’t be able to even afford the coverage I pay for because out of pocket expenses and co-pays will prevent me from going to the doctor.

  • D D A

    Who wrote this crap – lying just as much as the politicians do – and believing his/her lies

  • http://yahoo Kay Leal

    The Tea party & Repubs have done all of what they could do at this point. Obamacare is rolling out today. After months of implementation down the road, let’s see how much the public likes it, and hopefully will remember who and why they put these politicians in office, and take them out at election time. I disagree that this will hurt the Tea Party & Republicans. I think it’s going to be on the other foot. Wish Harry was put for reelection in 2014.

  • Jared

    Yall need to learn how to think for yourselves. Anyone that thinks congress is exempt under obamacare obviously is just believing what they want and ignoring reality.

    Reality is: most people talking about these exemptions think that congress is giving themselves an out on NOT using obamacare. That’s what they think, period. Well the truth is the opposite of that. So anyone talking about how this is really an exemption when it’s not when that is what everyone is talking about is not very smart.

  • https://praiseorbash.com/s/obamacare Praise Obamacare

    Medicaid was unpopular when it first started and it is still around today. Obamacare will be a success and will be here for a long time.

  • xzr56

    The recent Congressional Exemption From Obamacare, explained in one minute and 30 seconds.

    Congress gets to buy on the Obamacare exchanges with “before tax” dollars, while YOU don’t……

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7LGTE40JTQ ( or Google you tube video # c7LGTE40JTQ )

    In the 25% tax bracket, a person needs to earn $6,667 annually in BEFORE TAX DOLLARS just to pay $5,000 annually in AFTER TAX DOLLARS for their private health insurance. On a monthly basis, this person must earn $556 every month in order to pay for his $416 monthly health insurance bill, a $140 per month income tax penalty.

    All Americans should demand the right to buy their health insurance with before-tax dollars.

    I wrote my Senator Harry Reid — AGAIN — for the third time in 3 years on this issue.

    I am not sure why he has failed to correct the unfairness of “after tax dollar” purchases of health insurance for ALL Americans, rather than fix it just for congressional employees buying on the Obamacare exchanges .