Friday, October 4, 2013

Congressional Staff Compensation Packages Explained in a Way that Even Sean Hannity Might Get

I stopped listening to Sean Hannity years ago as watching his show is bad for both the brain cells and blood pressure so I have to thank Catherine Thompson for letting us know about this silly exchange:
A discussion between Fox News host Sean Hannity and Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Matt Salmon (R-AZ) on employer contributions to congressional staff's health care plans quickly devolved into a shouting match Thursday ... "You have a 72 percent subsidy that everybody watching this show does not have. That's what the law says congressman," Hannity said. "You’re getting special perks and special breaks for yourself, absolutely. So cut the crap and stop lying to the audience!”
I work for the private sector and my employer pays for part of my health insurance, but then again I just admitted that I was not watching this show. But let’s consider two possible ways of compensating the staff members of Congressman. Suppose Pascrell’s staff was paid $40,000 a year and got a health insurance package where the employee paid $50 a month and the government kicked in $150 a month. Sean Hannity would call that a 75% subsidy I guess. Suppose Congressman Salmon’s staff was not offered this subsidy but received $42,000 a year in terms of their Congressional subsidy. They then went onto a health exchange and got essentially the same insurance for $200 a month. Congressman Salmon’s staff would be getting an extra $200 a year precisely because the Federal government would be paying out an extra $200 a year per person. Which is just to say this has become one of the many stupid discussions in D.C. these days – for which we have Senator Grassley to blame.

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