At least one part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) commercial health insurance provisions could end up working pretty well.
That part is the provision that requires members of Congress and some staffers who want employer-sponsored health benefits to get their coverage through the PPACA public exchange system.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a leading contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, made headlines earlier this week when he said he and his wife are leaving the health plan provided by his wife’s employer, Goldman Sachs, because his wife is taking a leave of absence to go on the campaign trail. Cruz and his wife are intending sign up for coverage through Cruz’s employer — the Senate.
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) requires lawmakers to get their exchange coverage through a Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) plan from DC Health Link, the locally based District of Columbia exchange.
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On the one hand, the idea of a candidate who says he wants to repeal every last letter of “Obamacare,” and then signs up for Obamacare, does seem hilarious. If Cruz hates PPACA so much but needs health coverage, why can’t he sign up for short-term health insurance, or join a health care sharing ministry?
On the other hand: Lawmakers put the provision requiring members of Congress to have exchange plan coverage in PPACA to make sure members got a taste of what regular people were going through.
Some people, even inside the health policy community, once mistakenly thought that PPACA exempted members of Congress from the PPACA coverage rules. Instead, PPACA makes members of Congress the only workers in the United States who are required to get their employer-sponsored health benefits through the PPACA exchange system.