Lawmaker to refuse special Obamacare exemption

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

Just because the Obama administration is allowing members of Congress and their staff to be exempted from certain provisions of Obamacare doesn’t mean all lawmakers are going to accept what they are calling “special treatment.”

Republican West Virginia Rep. Shelley Moore Capito says she will not accept any health care subsidy made available to her that average Americans can’t receive.

Her comments come after the Office of Personnel Management announced last week that it will provide a subsidy of about 75 percent of the cost for the health care of members and staff.

Finding this outrageous, Capito says she plans to introduce legislation in the House called the No ObamaCare Subsidies for Congress Act of 2013 to “end this special treatment for Members of Congress.” The bill would affect lawmakers, and not staff, a source told The Daily Caller.

“As long as ObamaCare remains law, Members of Congress should not receive exchange subsidies that are not provided to other Americans,” said Capito, who is running for Senate in 2014.

The Obamacare fix for lawmakers and staff was made because the Affordable Care Act includes an amendment from a Republican senator that changes how the government currently covers most of the cost of health-care premiums for members and their staffers.

The new law mandates that members and staff must enter into exchanges or be covered by insurance “created” by law.

Lawmakers worried about a potential “brain drain” — Capitol Hill staffers leaving work because of the increased costs of health care — and therefore wanted the fix.

This story has been updated to reflect that the bill would affect lawmakers, and not staff.

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