If you've had your health insurance cancelled because of Obamacare, John Boehner feels your pain, to some degree anyway.
Like millions of Americans, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives is being forced to go to healthcare.gov for replacement insurance that is turning out to be more expensive than his existing policy. Like many citizens, he also had a hard time getting through to the troubled site before he was finally able to set up an account.
Obamacare, a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act, requires many lawmakers and their Capitol Hill staffs to leave the Federal Employees Heath Benefit program for insurance obtained on the exchange.
Millions of Americans who buy insurance on the individual market have been booted off their plans because they don't comply with Obamacare regulations. When the postponed employer mandate begins in 2015, millions of additional consumers will see big changes in their employer-provided health insurance.
Boehner has represented Ohio's 8th Congressional District since 1991 and became Speaker in 2011. He used to pay $433 a month ($700 deductible) for health insurance for he and his wife. According to Politico, "To keep a similar plan, the Boehners would have to pay $802 per month in premiums, with a deductible of $2,000" under Obamacare.
Boehner makes over 200 grand a year as Speaker -- the official who controls the gavel in the GOP-controlled House -- so he's in a much better position to absorb increased healthcare fees than the vast majority of Americans. Since his wife Debbie is already 65, however, she's separately signing up for Medicare. "The speaker, who is 64, chose to sign up for an individual plan with benefits similar to those he receives under FEHB. That will cost him $449 per month in premiums, and the policy carries a $1,000 deductible. So, he'll pay more next year for himself than he paid this year for both himself and his wife -- and, together, the Boehners will still pay roughly $800 per month in premiums with deductibles in the $2,000 range."
His spokesman note that "The Boehners are fortunate enough to be able to afford higher costs. But many Americans seeing their costs go up are not. It's because of them that this law needs to go."
Before the details of Boehner's new coverage became public, the Los Angeles Times insisted that Obamacare was a good deal for the Speaker because he was eligible for a so-called bronze plan.
John Boehner and every other Republican in both the House and Senate voted against Obamacare. It passed on a strict party-line vote when the Democrats controlled both chambers.
Separately, Democrat staffers in Congress reportedly have expressed shock about how much Obamacare is going to cost them and want the president to give them a bailout. As alluded to above, many (but not all) staffers on Capitol Hill are now required by law to obtain insurance from the DC healthcare exchange rather than continue under the generously subsidized federal employee program. Many of these staffers likely helped Obamacare become law during the contentious debate in Congress.
In what has developed into a major controversy, President Obama repeatedly declared that "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan" when he was selling healthcare reform via the Affordable Care Act to the American people.