As members of Congress debate whether to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, it seems fair to ask: How much do they pay for health care? The answer is that, while they don't pay nothing for coverage, they don't pay much.
As the myth busting website Snopes points out, "contrary to popular belief, Congressional members do not receive free health care." Instead, they choose a gold-level Obamacare policy and receive federal subsidies that cover 72 percent of the cost of the premiums.
In short, Snopes reports that members of Congress and staff "pay approximately 28 percent of their annual healthcare premiums through pre-tax payroll deductions." They also have access to "free or low-cost care" through the Office of the Attending Physician as well as "free medical outpatient care at military facilities" in the D.C. area.
That's a pretty good deal, especially given that the average 21-year-old making $25,000 a year would be charged $282 per month for a silver Obamacare plan, and pay about half of that, or $142, thanks to subsidies, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
But, Jeffrey Frank of The New Yorker reports, one of the reasons legislators might be fixated on doing away with Obamacare is because they used to have a deal they liked even better. Before, they were covered by a "beloved, and by most accounts well-administered, federal plan" called the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP).
Were the ACA to be repealed, legislators would get to return to that "comfortable" situation. They would still enjoy many of the ACA's protections: under FEHBP plans, "no one can be refused, or charged more, for a preëxisting condition" and "dependents under twenty-six are covered," Frank writes. Unfortunately, he adds, "twenty million other Americans won't."