By Tom Curry National affairs writer
msnbc.com
updated 9/23/2009 10:56:15 AM ET 2009-09-23T14:56:15

Claim: Members of Congress wouldn’t take part in the insurance marketplaces to be set up by House and Senate bills.

Members of Congress get coverage through the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) which offers private-sector insurance plans. As other federal employees do, members of Congress pay part of the cost of this insurance, while much of it is paid for by the taxpayers. Democratic bills would create new insurance marketplaces and would offer subsidies to low- and middle-income people to buy coverage. How about offering FEHBP coverage to the uninsured, or having members of Congress join the new marketplaces?

Fact or fiction?
Fact. The coverage which members of Congress get would not be changed by the current bills. But Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has proposed an amendment to the Senate Finance Committee bill which would require that elected officials purchase coverage through the new insurance marketplaces, rather than using the FEHBP. Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala., and Sen. David Vitter, R- La., have proposed that members of Congress automatically be enrolled in any government-run public plan that Congress sets up. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has proposed that any member of Congress who votes for the Finance Committee bill would be automatically enrolled in the Medicaid program for low-income people, instead of in the FEHBP.

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