With the start of the Affordable Care Act just weeks away, lawmakers and their staffs have until the end of Monday to enroll in new health-care exchanges established by the law, or decide to pay out of pocket for a different public or private insurance plan.
For some lawmakers, the decision is wrought with political consequences, because the new health-care law requires lawmakers and most congressional staffers to leave their current plans and join the District's new health-care exchange in order to continue receiving their taxpayer-funded employer contribution. (All federal employees receive employer contributions, as do many private-sector workers.) Many of the lawmakers who have been railing against the new health plan in their home districts may face questions back home once they sign up for the exchanges they have criticized.
Over the past several days, The Washington Post has been canvassing House and Senate offices to determine what lawmakers plan to do. As of today, most Senate offices have responded to our inquiry, and we're continuing to compile information from the 435 House offices.
-- All top congressional leaders -- Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) -- and their leadership deputies will receive coverage through the District's exchange, known as DC Health Link. (Boehner recently documented his rocky enrollment experience on his personal blog.)
-- At least 55 senators are enrolling in DC Health Link. At least two senators, Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), will join Health Link but waive the taxpayer-funded employer contribution.
-- Three senators will remain on Medicare -- Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Joe Manchin III (D-W. Va.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). (Manchin is enrolled in Medicare Part A for hospital visits but is obtaining the rest of his coverage through Health Link.)
-- At least 11 senators are waiving their employer contribution and joining a state-run exchange or the federal exchange. Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) are enrolling in the federal exchange because their states don't operate an exchange.
-- Two senators, John Cornyn (R-Tex.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), are enrolled in state government employee health-care plans. Cornyn is a former Texas judge and attorney general, while Kaine's wife works for the Virginia Community College System.
-- At least five senators are insured by their family or spouse's private insurance plan: Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.).
-- And what about prospective 2016 Republican presidential candidates serving in Congress? Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) are joining the D.C. exchange, while Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) hadn't announced his plans by Monday morning. Cruz, as mentioned above, receives health-care coverage from his wife's employer, Goldman Sachs.
Scan the tables below to see what your lawmaker plans to do. (If you work for a congressional office not on the list, contact us here and we'll add the information.)