Harry Reid Takes Taxpayer Subsidy: 'My Employer Helps Me Pay for My Health Care'

December 18, 2013 - 4:52 PM

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(CNSNews.com) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.), whose salary is $193,400 a year, said he has purchased a health care plan through the D.C. Obamacare exchange and that he is accepting the federal subsidy that can run up up to $11,378 per year for a member of Congress to purchase a plan on that exchange.

“I’m just like 150 million other people in America,” Reid said. “My employer helps me pay for my health care.”

A provision included in the Affordable Care Act  says: "the only health plans that the Federal Government may make available to Members of Congress and congressional staff with respect to their service as a Member of Congress or congressional staff shall be health plans that are—(I) created under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act); or (II) offered through an Exchange established under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act)."

Under the same law, private citizens buying an insurance plan in an Obamacare exchange can get a federal subsidy only if their income is less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level--which equals $94,200 for a family of four.

However, as CNSNews.com has reported, a regulation issued by the Office of Personnel Management to implement the Obamacare mandate allows members of Congress to get an "employer contribution" from the U.S. Treasury when they buy a health insurance plan in the exchange set up for small businesses in Washington, D.C.

That subsidy can run up to $11,378 per year for a family plan.

CNSNews.com asked Reid on Wednesday at the Capitol if he had purchased a health care plan through the D.C. exchange.

“Yes, I have,” he said.

CNSNews.com then asked Reid if he was accepting the federal subsidy to help pay for that plan.

“Yes, I am,” Reid said.

Finally, CNSNews.com asked Reid why he thought accepting the subsidy was the right thing to do.

“I’m just like 150 million other people in America,” Reid said. “My employer helps me pay for my health care.”