President Trump implied in a pair of recent tweets that he wants to end the special Obamacare exemption granted to Congress by Obama’s OPM.
If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017
If ObamaCare is hurting people, & it is, why shouldn’t it hurt the insurance companies & why should Congress not be paying what public pays? — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2017
CF&P recently joined a coalition of more than 30 organizations calling for precisely this action. It ought to be a no-brainer.
The exemption subverts a requirement, passed due to public demand, that members of Congress and their staff buy insurance through an Obamacare exchange, and that they do so without the generous employer contribution to which they were accustomed. In other words, that they experience the individual exchanges in the same fashion as millions of Americans.
Instead of living under the same law they foisted upon the American people, panicked members of Congress begged the administration to bail them out. Then-President Obama directed OPM to absurdly rule that Congress, which employs thousands, is a small business and therefore entitled to use the taxpayer subsidized DC small business exchange. But to be a small business requires having less 50 employees, so both the House and Senate filed fraudulent forms attesting that they employed less than 50 people, a fact which was only uncovered through litigation.
Trump believes forcing Congress to live under Obamacare will encourage them to repeal and replace it. I’m not so convinced. While it might create an additional incentive to reform, I don’t think it’s going to suddenly force a consensus on what shape that reform should take.
But even if it doesn’t make Obamacare repeal any more likely, he should do it anyway because it’s the right thing to do. The exemption is illegal and unconstitutional, and required the filing of forms containing knowingly false information in order to obtain. It’s an obvious issue of good government that Congress not be allowed to sidestep provisions of the laws it passes, much less to do so using such underhanded tactics.
If Americans have to live under Obamacare, then Congress should as well.