The legislative text of a deal being worked out among Republicans on new changes to a GOP health overhaul bill would seemingly carve out an exception to any insurance changes that might affect coverage for members of Congress, allowing them to maintain current benefits under the Affordable Care Act, while states would be allowed to reduce the mandated scope of health insurance coverage for consumers.
Health care reporter Sarah Kliff was one of the first to report on the change, which would seemingly make sure that members of Congress did not see changes to their own health plans.
At issue is a new GOP plan that would allow states to get waivers to certain provisions of the Obama health law, like the essential health benefits that would have to be covered in any health insurance plan sold to consumers.
Here is the text in play:
As usual, it looks like bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo to most people; but when you look at the provisions where waivers would not be allowed – Section 1312(d)(3)(D) pops up on the radar screen – and when you look at the underlying Affordable Care Act – you find this provision:
“(D) MEMBERS OF CONGRESS IN THE EXCHANGE,” is what it reads in federal law.
What does it mean?
“Members of Congress are not going to lose essential health benefits or be subject to health status underwriting,” wrote Timothy Jost in his healthaffairs.org blog.
The text of the amendment comes from a deal worked out over the Easter recess by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) and more conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus, all part of an ongoing push to reach a deal, and bring about a vote on health care in the U.S. House.
Critics of the Republican health effort immediately seized on the provision.
No vote has been set on health care as yet in the House.