Survey: Congress Doesn’t Want to Dump Government Benefits

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It’s not a surprise that congressional staffers are displeased at the loss of the health insurance coverage that was provided under the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan. A survey of 15 percent of the staff of the country’s 535 members of Congress, including chiefs of staff and directors of local offices, conducted by the Congressional Management Foundation, found that a significant majority of congressional staff directors are concerned about the quality and cost of purchasing health care through the individual insurance exchanges.

Ninety percent of those interviewed said their employees are worried about changes in benefits, and 86 percent said workers were concerned about the cost. Under the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan, the government subsidized approximately 75 percent of health care costs.

Until January 1, congressional aides — like members of Congress — qualified for coverage under the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan. But while the health care reform was being debated, Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa proposed an amendment to the law that would only allow the government to offer members of Congress and their staff health insurance plans that are “created under” the Affordable Care Act or “offered through an Exchange.”

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