U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham plans to enroll in the Affordable Care Act's South Carolina health care exchange but will forgo the special taxpayer subsidy available to members of Congress.
Graham's announcement came Monday, the deadline for members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to enroll in the new health-care exchanges established under so-called "Obamacare."
The members also could pay out of pocket for a different public plan or go private, such as joining a plan provided by a family member's employer.
"I don't think members of Congress should get a special deal," Graham, R-S.C. said in a media statement issued by his office that reiterated his opposition to Obamacare.
"Obamacare is being pushed on the American people and we should live under it just like everyone else," the statement said.
Under an exemption issued by the Office of Personnel Management in Washington, members of Congress could have enrolled in the DC Health Link exchange and the government would have continued subsidizing about 75 percent of their health care premium. The exemption applied only to members of Congress and their congressional staff.
Others in the state's delegation also made their intentions known Monday. U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., of North Charleston, will be purchasing his health insurance through the DC health exchange but will forgo the employer contribution, his office said.
1st District U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-Charleston, is going on the DC exchange and is accepting the employer match, his office said.
U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., whose 6th District covers parts of Charleston and the Lowcountry, also opted for the D.C. Health Link Exchange, according to a chart of congressional office choices released by The Washington Post.
Graham quoted government coverage charts listing that for a 58-year-old male living in Oconee County, insurance costs for him will go up about $400 a month, or more "than 200 percent under Obamacare," said Graham.
"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."
Graham's statement said he would continue efforts "to repeal, replace, defund and allow Americans to opt-out of this horrible government program."
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551
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