Lindsey Graham enrolls under Obamacare, declines federal subsidy

December 9, 2013
Sen. Lindsey Graham said he would sign up on South Carolina health care exchange and skip the federal subsidy: “I don’t think Members of Congress should get a special deal.” (Chip Somodevilla / Getty images)
Sen. Lindsey Graham said he would sign up on the health care exchange in South Carolina but reject a  subsidy: "I don’t think Members of Congress should get a special deal." (Chip Somodevilla / Getty images)

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) became the latest U.S. lawmaker to enroll in a federal health insurance exchange but forego the federal subsidy he would normally receive for his premium.

Graham announced Monday he would enroll in his home state's exchange, which is being run by the federal government, even though he opposes the Affordable Care Act. The congressional open enrollment period ends Monday.Senators are allowed to receive a federal subsidy covering roughly 75 percent of their health care premiums under the law by enrolling in the D.C. Health Link exchange. But at least 12 senators have waived their employer contribution and joined either a state-run exchange or the federal exchange.

"I don’t think members of Congress should get a special deal,” Graham said in a statement.  "Obamacare is being pushed on the American people, and we should live under it just like everyone else."

While Graham's press release said he was signing up under "Obamacare’s South Carolina health care exchange," the senator is actually enrolling in the federal marketplace, since South Carolina declined to run its own exchange.

Like other congressional Republicans, Graham used the announcement as a chance to criticize the president's health care law,

"As a 58-year-old male living in Oconee County -- my insurance costs are going up about $400 a month, more than 200 percent, under Obamacare," Graham said.  "In addition, my health care coverage will be a fraction of what it used to be.  Sadly, I’m not the only one who will feel the negative effects of Obamacare.  It’s happening all over South Carolina. The worst is yet to come, but I will continue my fight to repeal, replace, defund and allow Americans to opt out of this horrible government program."

Juliet Eilperin is a White House correspondent for The Washington Post, covering domestic and foreign policy as well as the culture of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She is the author of two books—one on sharks, and another on Congress, not to be confused with each other—and has worked for the Post since 1998.
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