Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Did the US Congress Exempt Itself From Obamacare?

Harry Reid (D-NV), United States Senator from ...
Harry Reid (D-NV), United States Senator from Nevada and Majority Leader of the United States Senate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This Forbes article gives the answer: not exactly.

* Prior to Obamacare, Congress enjoyed subsidized healthcare provided by the federal government.

*The Obamacare bill as passed into law required Congress and its staff to purchase their health insurance through an Exchange at full price.

* In 2013, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), (apparently under direction from the President) issued a rule allowing federal subsidies to continue.

* Republican Senator Vitter subsequently introduced a bill to reverse the OPM rule and "require the President, Vice President, executive branch political appointees, and all Members of Congress and their staff to purchase health insurance through the Exchange and without subsidies from the Federal Government". The bill was blocked repeatedly by Democrat Harry Reid.

There is no law that prevents a US employer from subsidizing a US employee's healthcare. So, there is nothing wrong with an employer subsidy per se.

However, Congress was, by a law they crafted and passed, required to purchase their insurance through an Exchange, without subsidies "as it is written in the original bill which no one read and a majority signed". They then flouted this law with the help of a ruling from the OPM, apparently at the urging of the US President.

Which is about par for the course for the Obama era.

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"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"