Vitter: Obamacare Fix for Bureaucrats is Why American People Despise Congress

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) today is urging the President and Congressional leadership to change the recent decision by the Office of Personnel and Management (OPM) that requires that all Members of Congress, all Congressional staff, the President, Vice President, and all political appointees in the Administration must purchase their health insurance on the Obamacare Exchange without the help of taxpayer-funded subsidies. Vitter plans to work on a legislative fix in September if the Administration does not act first.

“These recent maneuverings inside the beltway are precisely why the American people rightly despise Congress,” Vitter said. “Perhaps if White House appointees and Congress have to live under these same Obamacare rules, things would be changed quickly for the better.”

Last week after Congress adjourned the Office of Personnel Management, under heavy pressure from Congressional leaders, announced they will issue regulations saying that the government can continue to make the employer contribution to the health plans of congressional members and staff.

Vitter has introduced legislation to reiterate that Members of Congress and their staff must enroll into the Obamacare exchanges and eliminate a loophole exempting the President, Vice President, political appointees and some Congressional staff from being forced into the health care insurance exchange.

The text of the Senator’s letters to Obama and Congressional leaders is below.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

Dear Congressional Leaders:

I write in strong opposition to the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) recent action to “fix” Obamacare for Members of Congress and their staffs without doing the same for the American people. I urge you to undo this action legislatively as soon as we return to session in September so that Congress stands with the American people and doesn't treat itself like a higher, select ruling class.

The Obamacare statute states very clearly that all Members of Congress and their staffs are to procure their health insurance through the Obamacare Exchange. Just as clearly, it does not reconstitute government support of their present coverage under the separate Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP) as payment toward the Exchange. Furthermore, no ordinary American at that income level buying on the Exchange would receive any government subsidy, much less one worth approximately $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for a family, under the OPM rule for Congress only. This bailout simply has been pulled out of thin air under intense and, sadly, bipartisan political pressure.

The provision of the OPM rule that allows individual Members of Congress to define what staff is even covered at all is particularly offensive and obnoxious. It's obviously intended to allow for a significant portion of congressional staff, like leadership staff, to be exempted from even having to deal with the Exchange at all, notwithstanding the whopping subsidy that the rule creates.

These recent maneuverings inside the beltway are precisely why the American people rightly despise Congress. OPM’s “solution,” demanded by leading Members of Congress and crafted behind closed doors, is being viewed as an act of self-dealing special treatment--and rightly so. Those with proximity to power have found a way to continue using their large, tax-free FEHBP government subsidies to defray the cost of their new coverage, all while leaving their constituents in the dust.

When Congress reconvenes in September, I will be fighting for a legislative fix that requires all Members of Congress, all Congressional staff, the President, Vice-President, and all political appointees within their administration to purchase their health insurance on the Obamacare Exchange without the help of huge taxpayer-funded subsidies. Until Obamacare is fully repealed, those elected by the public must abide by the same law Americans are being forced to live with.

Sincerely,

David Vitter
United States Senator


Wednesday, August 07, 2013

The Honorable Barack Obama
President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I write in strong opposition to your recent personal intervention which resulted in the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM's) “fix” of Obamacare for Members of Congress and their staffs but not for the American people. I urge you to reverse yourself and undo this "fix" so that Congress stands with the American people and doesn't receive the treatment of a higher, select ruling class.

You recently announced that you would be procuring your family's health insurance through the Obamacare Exchange. We also request that you impose this same treatment on all political appointees in your administration without the benefit of taxpayer-funded subsidies. They should live by the same laws and requirements as average, middle class Americans, not be exempt like a privileged ruling elite. Perhaps if they and Congress did have to live under these same rules, things would be changed quickly for the better.

The Obamacare statute states very clearly that all Members of Congress and their staffs are to procure their health insurance through the Obamacare Exchange. Just as clearly, it does not reconstitute government support of their present coverage under the separate Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP) as payment toward the Exchange. Furthermore, no ordinary American at that income level buying on the Exchange would receive any government subsidy, much less one worth approximately $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for a family, under the OPM rule for Congress only. This bailout simply has been pulled out of thin air under intense and, sadly, bipartisan political pressure.

The provision of the OPM rule that allows individual Members of Congress to define what staff is even covered at all is particularly offensive and obnoxious. It's obviously intended to allow for a significant portion of congressional staff, like leadership staff, to be exempted from even having to deal with the Exchange at all, notwithstanding the whopping subsidy that the rule creates.

These recent maneuverings inside the beltway are precisely why the American people rightly despise Congress. OPM’s “solution," crafted under intense political pressure and behind closed doors, is being viewed as an act of self-dealing special treatment--and rightly so. Those with proximity to power have found a way to continue using their large, tax-free FEHBP employer subsidies to defray the cost of their new coverage, all while leaving their constituents in the dust.

When Congress reconvenes in September, I will be fighting for a legislative fix that requires all Members of Congress, all Congressional staff, the President, Vice-President, and all political appointees in your administration to purchase their health insurance on the Obamacare Exchange without the help of taxpayer-funded subsidies. Make our legislative fix unnecessary. Please do this yourself, and do it now.

Until Obamacare is fully repealed, those elected by the public should abide by the same laws Americans are being forced to live with.

Sincerely,

David Vitter
United State Senator

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