Moments ago, during a hearing in the Rules Committee, another Republican who supports repealing the Affordable Care Act announced that he would forgo the Federal Employers’ Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP) — the exchange that offers coverage at reduced rates to federal employees. Rep. Richard Nugent’s (R-FL) decision now brings the total number of Republicans who are staying out of Congressional coverage to seven, or just 3% of all the Republicans in the House:
NUGENT: I will tell you this, what I will pay for insurance to get through my employer, not through the House, will be almost — will costs me $9,000 more a year. But I wan to remain with that, because I think it’s the right thing to do. Because I think that when you have Americans that are struggling, why should I get a cost saving because I just got elected to the United States House of Representatives?
Yesterday, Republicans voted down a proposal offered by Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) that would have required members to disclose the source of their insurance coverage. A spokesperson for House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) dismissed the measure as “junk food” political rhetoric, suggesting that it has nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act. Under the health reform bill, the exchanges that become operational in 2014 are largely based on the FEHBP program and members would have to enroll in the new market place and face the same kinds of choices as their constituents.
Nugent joins Reps. Sandy Adams (FL), Bill Johnson (OH), Mike Kelly (PA), Bobby Schilling (IL), Joe Walsh (IL) and Daniel Webster (FL), and Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH) in opting out of the program.