Senator: Congress' Obamacare Special Subsidies Still Secure Despite Court Ruling

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | July 23, 2014 | 10:25 AM EDT

While a Tuesday court ruling threatens to deprive five million American citizens from receiving Obamacare subsidies, the special subsidies to members of Congress and their staffs remain secure, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) explained yesterday.

Vitter called for an end to the special Congressional subsidies after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that subsidies granted under the federal Obamacare exchange are illegal.

Currently members of Congress and their staff members are still eligible to receive taxpayer funded subsidies ($5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for a family) to pay for their health care. Those same subsidies are not available to any other American. Vitter has refused the subsidy.

"[A]lthough there are opposite rulings today about the legality of Obamacare subsidies, one thing is certain: Congress still gets its special Obamacare exemption," Vitter said.

And, while Congress' special treatment is secure, more than 89,000 of his constituents stand to lose their subsidies to help buy health insurance, Vitter warned:

"If the D.C. Circuit decision stands, more than 89,000 Louisianans who currently receive a subsidy on the federal exchange would lose that financial assistance, see their premiums skyrocket and possibly lose their insurance. Members of Congress need to be treated the same way as every other American, and that means losing their illegal, gold-plated subsidies and experiencing the same effects of this law as their constituents."

Vitter has introduced legislation that would end an Obamacare exemption for Congress by requiring all Members of Congress, all Congressional staff, the President, Vice-President, and all political appointees within the administration to purchase their health insurance on the Obamacare Exchange; his legislation would also prevent them from receiving greater financial support from tax credits or subsidies than any American outside of Washington.