A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of Aug. 27-Sep. 2

This week, readers sent us letters about “special” subsidies for Congress and “forced” home inspections.

In the FactCheck Mailbag, we feature some of the email we receive. Readers can send comments to editor@factcheck.org. Letters may be edited for length.


Congress’ ‘Special Subsidy’

I disagree with Lori Robertson’s conclusions in her [“No ‘Special Subsidy’ for Congress,” Aug. 30]. The amendment to the health care bill, H. R. 3590, simply says that members of Congress and congressional staff will be required to get their health care through an exchange. The amendment does not say anything about a subsidy being provided to them. This is the “special subsidy” Rep. [Robert] Pittenger is talking about and the distinction he is making. Ordinary citizens will have to qualify for a subsidy depending on their level of income. As I read the ruling by the Office of Personnel Management, members of Congress and congressional staff get an automatic subsidy of approximately 75 percent of the cost of the plan purchased through an exchange, without their level of income being considered.  Therefore, in my opinion, Rep. Pittenger is correct.

David W. Hall
Austin, Texas

FactCheck.org responds: For the benefit of those who have not read our story, the “automatic subsidy” to which the reader refers is simply the premium contribution that the federal government has long made to the health insurance policies of its workers. That employer contribution won’t be any more than it is now.


Home Visit Validation

I am the program director for a Maternal Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting ( MIECHV) grant funded Healthy Families America site. We provide exactly the type of home visits the D’ Angelo Gore article [“Inspection Deception,” Aug. 26] referenced and to exactly the type of families discussed. It is a part of our foundational standards that these home visits be offered on a voluntary basis and cannot receive accreditation if otherwise. Just wanted to say the article was spot on and we appreciate the effort to remove myths and disparities from what is already difficult work!!

Nickey Stamey, Program Director of Mitchell Yancey Healthy Families
Burnsville, N.C.