(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) says that there is “no question” that members of Congress who are paid $174,000 a year are entitled to taxpayer-funded subsidies when they purchase health insurance in the Obamacare exchanges.
In response to questions posed by CNSNews.com on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Rangel said that he considers the subsidies part of Congress’ “overall compensation” even though ordinary Americans who earn $174,000 per year would have to have at least nine dependent children to qualify for the same subsidy if they bought insurance in the Obamacare exchanges.
CNSNews.com: "Earlier today, Congressman Barton on C-SPAN - who like most members of Congress makes $174,000 a year - said that he gets a $10,800 taxpayer subsidy for his health insurance, which most people who make his money would not ordinarily get in the private sector. Do you think members of Congress should be able to get that subsidy?"
Rangel: "We should not be able to get any subsidy that anybody with a life profession, who’d be getting from any other employer, and it’s my understanding that the government’s contribution is on square with the type of job we have in the private sector."
CNSNews.com: "So no taxpayer money for health insurance to go on the exchanges at all?"
Rangel: "I didn’t say that. The federal government is our employer."
CNSNews.com: "But do you think you should get that money to go in the exchanges?"
Rangel: "No question about it. We should not lose a part of our overall compensation. Of course not."
Under Obamacare, only people whose income is below 400 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for a federal subsidy to buy health insurance on the government exchanges.
However, a recent rule made by the Office of Personnel Management allows members of Congress and their staffs to keep the taxpayer-funded “employer contribution” they currently receive under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) when they enter the exchanges. The employer contribution covers about 75 percent of their premium costs.
As CNSNews.com previously reported, Senator David Vitter (R-La.) filed a “No Washington Exemption from Obamacare” amendment to the House-passed continuing resolution last month, calling it "clearly, unequivocally illegal," but it failed in the Senate.