Grassley pushes for Obama to buy health care from exchanges
US. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) is again pushing for legislation to require top officials from the Obama administration as well as Senate leadership to purchase health care from the soon-to-be established health care exchanges.
Grassley, who helped write the health care reform legislation in committee, pushed for an amendment to require all congressional staff and also to statutorily require the president, the vice president, top White House staff and cabinet members to get their health insurance through the newly created exchanges. The amendment did not apply to federal employees in the civil service.
Congressmen are required to enter into the exchanges the Affordable Care Act will require to be set-up, rather than the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program.
President Barack Obama and his administration and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) are not required to buy from the exchanges, although Obama did say he would purchase his own health insurance through them in 2014.
“As a result, the health care reforms driven by President Obama and Senator Reid do not apply to President Obama and top administration officials or to the powerful congressional leadership staff who helped to make the overhaul the law of the land,” Grassley argued in a statement. “The message to grassroots America is that health care reform is good enough for you, but not for us.”
The exchanges are a key part of the ACA, intended to provide affordable health insurance by the time the federal mandate to obtain health insurance kicks in. Currently, the president’s administration is working on sending money to the states to begin setting up administrations to run the exchanges.
Grassley advocates repeal and replacing health care reform, but said he is still going to push to have federal officials, like Obama and Reid, be required to live under the same laws while in office.
The Iowa Senator’s bill was introduced this week in the Senate. Last week U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) brought forward a companion bill in the House of Representatives.
Grassley is also co-sponsoring a bill to end automatic pay raises for Congress.