Fox & Friends mangles provision subjecting lawmakers to plans created by health bill
Research ››› ››› JOCELYN FONG
Fox & Friends hosts Brian Kilmeade, Gretchen Carlson, and Steve Doocy falsely claimed that the health care reform bill contains "a carve out, preventing ... lawmakers" from "getting what they have just given the American people," in Kilmeade's words. In fact, the bill says the opposite; the health plans offered to "Members of Congress and congressional staff" will be restricted to those plans created under the bill, while leadership and committee staff may be exempt from that requirement.
Fox & Friends falsely reported that bill exempts "lawmakers" from the health plans it creates
Kilmeade: Bill "prevent[s]" lawmakers "from getting what they have just given the American people." Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade stated during the March 24 broadcast, "Among the other things that I think stands out about this bill is that who's going to get it and who's not. For example, you heard the president of the United States talk about, I just want to give the American people what we here in Congress get, what federal workers get. But in the end, Senator Grassley points out the language in this is a carve out, preventing those lawmakers and their staffers from getting what they have just given the American people."
Carlson: "I think that this is astounding that these lawmakers are not required" to use health plans created by the bill. Later in the show, Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson stated, "I think that this is astounding that these lawmakers are not required to do exactly what the American people are now going to be required to do."
Doocy: "Members of Congress" don't "have to take it." Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy stated that "the particular people who worked on the bill" are not subject to the plans it creates. Doocy added, "So the president doesn't have to take it. Also, members of Congress and their staffs that worked on this particular carve out and what we're winding up with."
In fact, the bill says only plans created by the bill will be available to "Members of Congress and congressional staff"
Bill says "Members of Congress and congressional staff" will only be offered plans created by the bill or offered through exchanges established by bill. From H.R. 3590, the health care bill signed by President Obama on March 23:
(D) MEMBERS OF CONGRESS IN THE EXCHANGE.-
(i) REQUIREMENT.-Notwithstanding any other provision of law, after the effective date of this subtitle, 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).
(ii) DEFINITIONS.-In this section:
(I) MEMBER OF CONGRESS.-The term ''Member of Congress'' means any member of the House of Representatives or the Senate.
(II) CONGRESSIONAL STAFF.-The term ''congressional staff'' means all full-time and parttime employees employed by the official office of a Member of Congress, whether in Washington, DC or outside of Washington, DC.
Grassley himself noted that the provision "applie[s] to members of Congress and their staffs," but could exempt "leadership and committee staff." Roll Call reported on March 24 that a recent Congressional Research Service memo states that the provision could exempt "leadership and committee staffers from the requirement" since "the bill defines staff as employees who work in a Member's 'official office.'" Contrary to Kilmeade's claim that "Senator Grassely points out the language in this is a carve out, preventing those lawmakers and their staffers from getting what they have just given the American people," Roll Call reported that Grassley said "leadership and committee staff exempted themselves from the reforms, which had been applied to members of Congress and their staffs."