House leadership’s insistence on including Obamacare exemptions for U.S. House members and their staff in the ill-fated AHCA bill is partlyto blame for the repeated failure to repeal Obamacare.
The blatant hypocrisy among GOP leadership is nothing new, but it begs the question:
Why do Mississippi’s U.S. House Reps keep elevating the likes of John Boehner and Paul Ryan to House Speaker?
Steven Palazzo, Gregg Harper, and Trent Kelly should all refuse to vote for any Obamacare repeal that includes exemptions for House members or their staffs.
What say you?
Share this story if you agree that Reps. Harper, Palazzo, and Kelly should demand better of House Speaker Ryan and the rest of GOP leadership.
Republican legislators want to keep popular Obamacare provisions for themselves and their staff.
House Republicans appear to have included a provision that exempts Members of Congress and their staff from their latest health care plan.
The new Republican amendment, introduced Tuesday night, would allow states to waive out of Obamacare’s ban on pre-existing conditions. This means that insurers could once again, under certain circumstances, charge sick people higher premiums than healthy people.
Republican legislators liked this policy well enough to offer it in a new amendment. They do not, however, seem to like it enough to have it apply to themselves and their staff. A spokesperson for Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) who authored this amendment confirmed this was the case: members of Congress and their staff would get the guarantee of keeping this Obamacare regulation. Health law expert Tim Jost flagged me to this particular issue.
A bit of background is helpful here. Obamacare requires all members of Congress and their staff to purchase coverage on the individual market, just like Obamacare enrollees. The politics of that plank were simple enough, meant to demonstrate that if the coverage in this law were good enough for Americans than it should be good enough for their representations in Washington.
That’s been happening for the past four years now. Fast-forward to this new amendment, which would allow states to waive out of key Obamacare protections like the ban on pre-existing conditions or the requirement to cover things like maternity care and mental health services.
If Congressional aides lived in a state that decided to waive these protections, the aides who were sick could be vulnerable to higher premiums than the aides that are healthy. Their benefits package could get skimpier as Obamacare’s essential health benefits requirement may no longer apply either.
This apparently does not sound appealing because the Republican amendment includes the members of Congress and their staff as a protected group who cannot be affected by this amendment.
You can see it on the sixth page of the amendment, although it is admittedly hard to spot. The Obamacare section that requires legislators to buy on the individual market is section 1312(d)(3)(D). And if you look at the Republican amendment, and the list of who cannot be included in this waiver? It includes Section 1312(d)(3)(D).