Senate Republicans’ latest version of their health care bill exempts their own health care from one of it’s most Draconian provisions.
According to Vox’s Sarah Kliff, the latest version of the Senate GOP health care bill allows members of Congress to receive coverage for more benefits than the average American who buys insurance for themselves or their families.
A provision in the new bill, first advocated by Senator Ted Cruz, allows insurers operating in the individual market place to sell plans that do not meet the Affordable Care Act’s “essential health benefits” provision as long as they offer at least one plan that does.
That means that insurers in the individual market can offer plans that don’t offer things like maternity care or mental health care, as long as they offer at least one plan that does. Insurers fear that this will mean healthier people will buy skimpier plans, while only sicker people buy the more expansive plans, increasing risk in the latter’s insurance pool and thus raising the price of quality care.
Members of Congress are currently required to purchase health care through the individual marketplace because of a Republican amendment to the Affordable Care Act designed to make sure Congress was affected by any changes to health care policy under the law.
But now that they’re making their own changes to the health care bill, that principle does not appear to be a primary focus. According to Vox, Senate aides claim that the measure was included to meet Congress’s budgeting rules under the method Republicans have chosen to try and pass the bill.
But a similar exemption was struck from the House version of the bill before it was passed earlier this year. It’s unclear whether this one will remain in the bill as Senators continue to debate it.