Last week Senators Susan Collins (R-MA), John McCain (R-AZ), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) sided with Democrats in voting to keep Obamacare. Their votes made liberals happy, but they may have put all members of Congress and their staffs between a rock and a hard place.
President Donald Trump is not happy that Republicans are dragging their feet on repealing and replacing Obamacare. After the latest repeal failure, the President sent out a tweet that included a threat – one that should get the attention of every member of Congress.
If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will send very soon!
This tweet was followed a couple of days later with a second tweet questioning why members of Congress and their staff live under different rules than other Americans. He asked a question that knowledgeable Americans have been asking for years.
If ObamaCare is hurting people, & it is, why shouldn’t it hurt the insurance companies & why should Congress not be paying what public pays?
Under the original rules of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, congressional members and their staffs had the same rules as other Americans. They must have realized that they would have to live under this terrible law because they decided to make special conditions for themselves. The Obama administration’s Office of Personnel Management granted an exemption to them by allowing them to be treated as if they were a small business with less than 50 employees.
Since the exemption was made by Barack Obama, it can be taken away by Donald Trump. Fred Lucas at The Daily Signal says that the President could force Congress to focus on Obamacare if he follows through on his threat. He continues with a good explanation of the law and a small history lesson.
Such action by Trump, some political observers speculate, could spur Democrats to come to the bargaining table over the fate of Obamacare….
Not a single Republican voted to pass Obamacare. Under a subsection of the Affordable Care Act, Democrats voted Congress out of its own employer-sponsored Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. The provision required members and House and Senate staff to enroll in the new health insurance exchanges created for other Americans under the law.
Obamacare subsidies are capped so that no one with income higher than $48,000 gets a subsidy. Members of Congress earn $174,000 annually.
On Aug. 7, 2013, the OPM – which administers the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program – determined that members of Congress and staff still could enroll in the program through the SHOP Exchange, a health insurance exchange set up to provide special insurance subsidies for small businesses in Washington, D.C., with fewer than 50 employees….
In February 2015, then-Sen. David Vitter, R-La., a member of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, unsuccessfully sought documents pertaining to Congress and the exemption.
But documents that later surfaced reportedly showed administrators asserted Congress had a combined total of 45 employees. Congress itself has 535 members.
As of 2014, there were 4,180 Senate staffers and 9,175 House staffers, according to reports by the Congressional Research Service.
These figures clearly show that Congress members and their staff do not qualify under the small business rule. This exemption was made for their benefit, while leaving average Americans suffering under Obamacare. Since Barack Obama had no statutory authority to give the exemption, Donald Trump should follow through on his threat and simply take it away. This would leave Congress between a rock and a hard place and could force them to deal wisely and honestly with the problem of Obamacare.