VERIFY | Does Congress get free health care?

Verify: Do congressmen have to pay for health care

The attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is stalled for now. And because it failed, President Trump is threatening to pull a healthcare benefit from Congress.  

Micky Leake of Bedford sent me an email asking me to verify that federal legislators have free health coverage.  Here's what I found out:

Despite recent attempts, the Affordable Care Act is still law. And according to that law, members of Congress and their staff members are required to buy their health insurance off the Federal Exchange Marketplace. They can either use the Washington D.C. exchange or the exchange in their home state. 

The law prohibits representatives, senators, and their aides from receiving tax credits or subsidies the ACA provides. The credit is based on income and only applies to Americans making less than $48,000 per year. 

So the Office of Personnel Management, or O.P.M., determined that the federal government could continue to help pay premiums on exchanges for congressional employees. It's the same benefit given to any other federal employee who uses the Federal Employee Healthcare Benefit program, such as White House staff. That money does come from tax dollars and is about 72% of the premium, less than the national average big corporations give their employees. 

Members of Congress, not their staff or family, have access to a Capitol Hill physician, but they must pay an annual fee for that service. 

They can receive free outpatient care at military facilities within the Washington D.C. area. If they go outside the beltway or if they need inpatient care, they must pay 100% for military health care. 

If lawmakers want dental or vision coverage, they must pay 100% of the premium. 

So do federal lawmakers get their health insurance for free?

No. And that's Verified.

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