In this May 4, 2017 photo, President Donald Trump, accompanied by GOP House members, cheer for Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., after the House pushed through a health care bill, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Members of Congress looking to rewrite former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act have a unique perspective, since many of them are signed up for the health care it created. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)
WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. John McCain, a former Navy pilot who at 80 has had several health setbacks, gets his coverage from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
House leaders, like Speaker Paul Ryan, get their coverage through the Affordable Care Act, as do many members of Congress.
Congress voted to include itself in the law when it passed in 2010, and a bill passed by the House last week would continue that requirement in the new version.
So how is it working for them? Depends on who you ask.
A look at the coverage requirements for members of Congress:
ARE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS EXEMPT?
No. While some criticize members of Congress for being out of touch, the 2010 law was specifically written to include them. Starting in 2014, members and their staffs had to use federal or state health care exchanges instead of the coverage that is available to most government workers. Most members who use the coverage buy it off the health care exchange created by the District of Columbia.
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, pushed for lawmakers to be included in the bill. “The more that Congress experiences the laws we pass, the better the laws are likely to be,” Grassley said at the time.
The same argument emerged as the House worked to rewrite the law this year. An earlier version of the Republican bill would have exempted members of Congress, drawing an outcry, but the House voted 429-0 to include themselves. That bill was passed separately from the main legislation and sponsored by Republican Rep. Martha McSally of Arizona, who said “anything short of that is hypocrisy.”