Congressman Pete Olson

Representing the 22nd District of Texas

House Members Introduce Legislation to Eliminate the Special Health Care Exemption for Leadership and Committee Staff

March 25, 2010
Press Release

Today 18 Members of Congress, including Pete Olson introduced legislation to close the loophole to eliminate the special health care reform exemption for certain Congressional staff so that all Legislative Branch employees are treated the same.  This legislation amends the enacted bill to correct a special exemption in the new law that moved some legislative staff into the new health care exchange and left those who wrote the bill in their current health care system.  This bill corrects that by ensuring that all Legislative Branch employees are moved into the new health care exchanges.
 
“It appears as though some of the folks who participated in drafting the health care takeover, including White House staff and the Democrat leadership staff, exempted themselves from it,” said Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL). “This bill would simply move everyone that works for Congress into the new government run health care exchanges. Shouldn’t all of Congress be under the same mandate that they are imposing on the rest of the country?”
 
Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) said, “No one should receive special treatment when it comes to something as important as health care.  If this health care plan is so wonderful everyone should be jumping at the chance to participate.  If this was an unintentional oversight, then this legislation corrects it and should move through Congress swiftly to provide parity for all.”

“It was discovered in the language of health care bill that Obama just signed that the Congressional Committee staff members that drafted the bill were left in the existing health care system instead of getting moved over into the new health care system,” said Dr. Griffith (R-AL). “If members of Congress and their staff are mandated to receive the new health care system, it should be mandated to all Congressional staffers across the board. This legislation will fix the loophole so that those staffers that drafted this legislation will also now receive the new health care policy; it is the fair thing to do.”

Specifically, the legislation would close the loophole so that all Legislative Branch employees are required to get their health insurance from the health care exchanges.  This would include all leadership, committee and joint staff as well as officers of the House and Senate and their employees.  All other Legislative Branch employees would be included as well.
 
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Contact: Melissa Kelly
202-225-5951