A timely question from Cherlyn in light of Thursday's expected House vote on the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. She asks: "Does the president get special healthcare?"
The answer: Bigly.
The president of the United States currently falls under the same rules as members of Congress when it comes to health coverage. If they so choose, they can pay out of pocket for any insurance they please.
But if they want taxpayers to cover up to 75% of the costs of their health coverage — and most do — they have to purchase insurance through the Washington, D.C., Obamacare exchange.
In 2013, former President Obama signed up for a "bronze" plan costing less than $400 a month. He had to pay the full amount because his presidential salary of $400,000 made him ineligible for federal subsidies.
It was a symbolic move. The president in no way is lacking for healthcare.
While insurance would be required if the president went to a private hospital, he receives as much free treatment as he desires from military doctors in the White House Medical Unit.
In fact, there's always a doctor on call within the White House and a medical staff accompanying the president wherever he goes. The White House clinic contains exam rooms, hospital equipment and supplies, and a crash cart for emergency resuscitation.
Dr. E. Connie Mariano, a White House physician from 1992 to 2001, described the facility to CNN as being "like a mini urgent-care center."
The White House Medical Unit also serves the president's family, as well as the vice president and his family.
Members of Congress enjoy similar healthcare perks. They have access to the Office of the Attending Physician in the U.S. Capitol for the super-low price of about $600 a year.
The congressional clinic is staffed by Navy doctors, nurses, technicians and a pharmacist. All treatment, including the services of specialists, is covered by the annual fee.
If more advanced treatment is required, the president and Congress members have access to military facilities.
None of this will change under the Republican healthcare plan.
So when President Trump says, as he did the other day, that the Republican plan "will end in a beautiful picture," the reality is that he won't be a part of that picture.
If he gets sick or hurt or diagnosed with a chronic illness, top-quality medical help is always at hand.
And he won't pay a dime for his treatment.
You'll pay all his bills.
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