Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger is misleading his constituents by saying that he will decline the health insurance offered to members of Congress next year because it includes a “special subsidy” from the president that “exempted” Congress from the Affordable Care Act.
Congress isn’t “exempt” from the law. It wasn’t exempt back in 2010, when we first debunked such a claim; nor were lawmakers exempt in May when the bogus bit surfaced again. Three months later, they’re still not exempt. In fact, as we’ve said before, lawmakers and their staffs face additional requirements that other Americans don’t. And the “special subsidy” to which Pittenger refers is simply a premium contribution that his employer, the federal government, has long made to the health insurance policies of its workers.
This is simply a continuation of the myths that have risen up around Congress that have not been true for over 30 years. For instance, there is the myth that a Congressperson who serves even one term received a full retirement. That is not true, but it crops up every election. Members of Congress are participants in the same retirement programs that every Federal employee is. Under Ronald Reagan Congress was forced to give up its separate retirement plan.
Then there is the myth that Congress is not part of Social Security. Well, that is not true as well. Then there has been the myth that Congress has a gold-plated separate health plan. That is not true as well, not since the times of Ronald Reagan.
I could go on, but do some real research for yourself. Sadly, Tea Party allied congress members are now telling the same old false stories again. It takes a massive amount of spin to get to the cartoon above. But, then, as Pilate said, “What is truth?” It is certainly a question that could be asked about the current set of Tea Party generated myths.