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Wait, Congress Wants to Keep Obamacare for Themselves?

by Countable | 4.26.17

Late Tuesday night, Vox broke a story that Republicans have included an exemption for members of Congress and their staff in upcoming health care legislation from key amendments to the American Health Care Act (AHCA).

The MacArthur Amendment, authored by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), allows states to waive protections for consumers covered by Obamacare provisions related to preexisting conditions and mandatory coverage of certain health benefits by insurers.

Under the MacArthur Amendment, those with pre-existing conditions would be moved into "high-risk pools" that are charged more money for their premiums. States could also receive waivers to alter the list of mandatory benefits health insurers must cover under Obamacare.

An amendment to Obamacare introduced by Republicans moved all members of Congress off of the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program along with their staffs, instead allowing them to purchase subsidized (if they’re eligible) insurance through the D.C. health insurance exchange. The idea behind the amendment was "that if the coverage in this law were good enough for Americans, it should be good enough for their representatives in Washington." Fair enough.

As explained by Vox, "the Obamacare section that requires legislators to buy on the marketplace is section 1312(d)(3)(D)." As shown in this language published by Vox, excerpted from page six of the amendment, the list of those who cannot be included in the MacArthur Amendment waivers are those indicated in Section 1312(d)(3)(D).

Yes, you read that correctly. The MacArthur Amendment, written to make the AHCA palatable enough to both conservative and moderate Republicans Congress members to secure enough votes for passage, includes those same members of Congress and their staff as a protected group who can’t be affected by the amendment’s terms.

Regular American citizens will be subject to the new Republican health care legislation if and when it’s enacted, but Republican members of Congress will get to keep their Obamacare.

Should members of Congress be subject to the same terms of the AHCA as all other citizens? Tell your reps what you think using the "Take Action" button!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst / Creative Commons)

Countable

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(405)
  • Courtney
    04/26/2017
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    Re: ACA You were voted in to represent the people of your districts. Exempting yourself from the same policies you are enforcing on your constituents is grossly unethical. Represent those who elected you, not yourselves. COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY.

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  • Will
    04/26/2017
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    Don't get me wrong i'm not anti-military, but if we cut military spending from 54% of the budget to 50%, and so increased health spending from 6% to 10% we could have a free National Health Service. Yet nobody is bold enough to say this, we need to choose our priorities, a nationalised health service would be more efficient and lower the cost on everyone. We need to reassess our priorities.

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  • Karen
    04/26/2017
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    This is a slap to all Americans. Reps who would vote for this have no morals, compassion, or respect for the citizens they are supposed to serve.

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  • Lesia
    04/26/2017
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    How dare you! If it's good enough for you then it's good for us as well. If you have the audacity to exclude yourselves from laws you impose on us-your constituents, then I have to assume you want us to fire you and I will make every effort to ensure we do so.

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  • Christine
    04/26/2017
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    I am appalled by the current ACA repeal/replace proposal that keeps congress and its staff essentially on Obamacare with the 10 essential health care mandate and preexisting condition clause while booting the rest of us off of it. What's good for congress is good for those who pay their salaries. This bill had better not pass.

    Like (68)
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  • SouthernGal
    04/26/2017
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    Why in the hell would I pay for your healthcare, when you are trying your best to screw the entire population of the US over? What is good enough for us is good enough for you. If you don't want your new plan, don't vote for it.

    Like (57)
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  • Keven
    04/26/2017
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    Congress should be subject to the same terms of the AHCA as all other citizens!

    Like (57)
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  • Mandy
    04/27/2017
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    Congress needs to have the same healthcare coverage as those constituents who vote them in. Americans deserve the same ACA plan as Congress. Do not pass a water down version for the public. What's good enough for Congress is good enough for the rest of us.

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  • Jerrald
    04/26/2017
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    This is hypocrisy at its finest.

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  • Susan
    04/26/2017
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    AHCA good enough for you in government but too good for the rest of us. Who do you know that doesn't have a pre-existing condition? This is shameful.

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  • Payingattention
    04/26/2017
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    This is really too much. Congress wants to repeal and replace the ACA except where it applies to them?! How about we just keep the ACA for everyone and stop trying to repeal and replace. We are paying attention.

    Like (29)
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  • Sharon
    04/26/2017
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    Oh....I don't think so. How dare this guy even come up with some nonsense like this. 2018

    Like (28)
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  • Candace
    04/27/2017
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    What a self-serving bunch you are! You're hurting the very people you're expected to represent. Believe me, we'll remember you in 2018!

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  • Starrpotts
    04/27/2017
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    So we are not good enough to be protected by ACA but legislators are? This is grossly unethical hypocritical and distorted. How about Congress puts an actually well thought out health care plan in place? Or cut military spending and add a little extra to the healthcare budget so that everybody can be covered equitably instead of penalizing people who have pre-existing conditions who are the most vulnerable? I know I'm preaching to the choir where my legislators are concerned and I appreciate everything you're doing to protect our healthcare and keep the ACA in place until a better alternative can be found. But this piece of news that Republican Congress people who want to dump our ACA get to keep it for themselves. That is abhorrent and ridiculous.

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  • Craig
    04/26/2017
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    If you find this acceptable, then you are despicable. Put up a healthcare bill you would want for yourselves.

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  • Deb
    04/26/2017
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    How sad that congress feels it is more worthy of aspects of health care than the working class citizens. Please do not allow this ridiculous exemption! What is good for is is good four those we elect! Giving states authority to support or not support needed health care items will be a costly Kim stake for the most vulnerable in our society. Please have compassion and dothw right thing!

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  • Penny
    04/26/2017
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    If we can't have the ACA then neither can you!

    Like (18)
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  • Debbie
    04/27/2017
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    Go figure. You're covered, so who cares about those who VOTE? November 6, 2018 is just around the corner.

    Like (17)
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  • Gail
    04/27/2017
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    No to any exclusions of Congress to ANY LAW!!! You make the laws, you LIVE by them or quit your job!!!!!!

    Like (16)
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  • Susan
    04/26/2017
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    Good enough for congress and government but too good for the rest of us.who do you know that doesn't have a pre existing condition. Next step Genetic profile for possible future problems that will be considered pre-pre conditions.

    Like (14)
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