Politics
              Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, center, accompanied by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, right, and  Acting Labor Secretary Seth D. Harris, speaks about Social Security and Medicare , Friday, May 31, 213, at the Treasury Department in Washington. The government says Medicare

GOP bill to eliminate health-care subsidies for Congress and staff under Obamacare

Photo of Caroline May
Caroline May
Political Reporter

A Republican lawmaker has announced that he will introduce legislation to prohibit members of Congress and Congressional staff from receiving government health insurance subsidies under Obamacare.

Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis will introduce the “James Madison Congressional Accountability Act” when Congress returns from recess in September, a DeSantis staffer told The Daily Caller. The legislation comes in the wake of an Office of Personnel Management decision to allow members of Congress and their staff to keep their government contributions for health insurance when Obamacare is implemented.

DeSantis notes that an amendment inserted into Obamacare by Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley mandates that Congress participate in the Obamacare exchanges so its members suffer the “same fate as” the rest of America.

“The Obama administration cannot override the law and grant special subsidies to members of Congress and their staffs,” DeSantis said in a statement. “It is also patently unfair — and contrary to our founding principles — to grant special relief to members of the governing class while leaving the rest of America to bear the costs.”

The Office of Personnel Management decided earlier this month to keep subsidizing health insurance premiums under Obamacare because of worries that the increased health insurance costs could result in a loss of talented staffers.

In an appearance on Fox News’ On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren Monday evening, DeSantis said he hopes his legislation will force lawmakers to either support or reject the perk.

“They had the bureaucracy issue this administrative rule, and guess what that means, that means Members of Congress aren’t going to have to go on record to say whether they support this or not,” he said. “And so one of the reasons why I filed this bill was because I think that the American people should know whether their member of Congress believes that they should get a subsidy that the rest of the country is not eligible for.”

West Virginia Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito has also announced plans to introduce similar legislation after the recess. However, Capito’s “No ObamaCare Subsidies for Congress Act of 2013” would only affect members of Congress but not their staff.

“As long as ObamaCare remains law, Members of Congress should not receive exchange subsidies that are not provided to other Americans,” Capito said in her announcement earlier this month.

Santis rejected his congressional pension and health insurance benefits shortly after taking office in January, while Capito has refused her health care subsidy.

Follow Caroline on Twitter