Instead of finally offering an alternative plan to the Affordable Health Care Act versus fruitless attempts at repealing it, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH, pictured) has continued to make a spectacle over the debate on how to best help the tens of millions of Americans that live without health insurance. His most-recent act of foolishness is signing himself up for Obamacare — while snapping shots to the press — in order to get the last laugh at how expensive and complicated the ordeal is. Maybe that sounded like a good idea to him in theory, but like many of his past attempts at mocking President Barack Obama, reality smacked him upside the head.
RELATED: Need Health Insurance? Here’s How You Can Get Affordable Coverage Starting Oct. 1
Speaker Boehner’s spokesman, Michael Steel, has confirmed to CNN that the Republican leader will take thousands of dollars in government support to help with the costs of the new healthcare program. But, but, but…what about the nanny state? Government sugar daddy? All those pestering poor folks looking for “government handouts?”
Steel told CNN that “Washington Democrats chose not to make that change.” However, as the news organization points out there are “several other members of Congress who chose to return their premium support to the Treasury.” So why not you, Mr. Speaker?
Nonetheless, Boehner described the process as “pretty frustrating,” but all and all he got a better deal for an individual plan that mirrored the Blue Cross Blue Shield one he currently has as a part of the federal employees health package.
On the differences:
The current cost for Boehner and his wife? They “pay a monthly premium of $433,” said Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck.
The new plan for the two of them?
It “would cost $802 per month in premiums,” Buck said.
That is an 85 percent leap. But, Boehner’s wife is about to go on Medicare, so he will get an individual plan. That cost? $449 a month.
Boehner’s office notes he will now be paying more for one person in the Obamacare exchange than he was for two people in the federal employees plan. Deductibles for the Boehners will jump from $700 to about $2,000.
Boehner’s age along with being a smoker is being cited as a reason for the higher costs, though there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to his jump in premium.
Salon’s Brian Beutler writes that “these numbers actually prove the law is working very well in Washington, D.C. — but that reality is obscured by the fact that Boehner has been benefiting from a hidden, expiring government entitlement for the past several years.”
Boehner does not provide intel on what plan he chose on the site, but Beutler did a generic profile based on his age and income (without noting he was a smoker) and found that Boehner was eligible for a “bronze” plan with a $6,000 annual deductible for $372.14 a month. That is, as the Los Angeles Times‘ Michael Hiltzik notes, only 2 percent of Boehner’s wages. Moreover, “A gold-level plan including dental coverage and no deductible would set Boehner back about $700 a month, or 3.8 percent of Boehner’s wages.”
Hiltzik goes on to make the important note:
Obamacare rules typically allow for a premium to cost no more than 9.5 percent of household income for lesser “silver” plans. That limit comes from premium subsidies granted to households earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty line. In other words, Boehner would be way ahead of most Americans.
So Boehner is not getting a bad deal in the least, and if anything, only further proves that he and his fellow Republicans share a large share of the blame of their own “nightmares” about the program. After all, it’s Senate GOP members that called on legislators and their staffs get their insurance from the individual exchanges in the first place. The move was an attempt to undermine passage of the Affordable Health Care Act. It didn’t work, and now the end result is Boehner is going from one great health care plan to another…with subsidies.
As for those website headaches Boehner complained about, again, look at your party. Those are the people responsible for purposely sabotaging the rollout of the site. It’s not their entire fault, but they were a huge impediment all the same.
Now that we’ve gotten another publicity stunt out of the way, can we finally move to something more substantive, Mr. Speaker?
Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick
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