News and Commentary

Will Trump End The Obamacare Congressional Exemption?

If President Trump wants to obtain some serious leverage over the Senate to repeal Obamacare, here’s an easy way he could do it: end Obamacare’s congressional exemption.

American Commitment is spearheading a coalition of over national 30 organizations urging the president to end the exemption. In a letter to the president, the coalition explained that the original Obamacare text required Congress to give up its federally-funded health care and instead turn to an Obamacare exchange to obtain health insurance without the help of a subsidy. However, in 2013 President Obama bowed to congressional pressure and allowed Congress to classify themselves as a small business, thus making them eligible for the small business exchange, where they would receive an employer contribution from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

American Commitment President Phil Kerpen told The Daily Wire that Obama’s decision to implement the exemption was blatantly unconstitutional since Congress didn’t appropriate the money for them to use on the small business exchange and because “Congress is not a small business.”

“They do not have less than 50 employees, they have thousands and thousands of employees, which means this whole thing was predicated on a fraud,” said Kerpen.

Kerpen also pointed out that according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch, the House and the Senate each classified themselves as small businesses, even though the rule change in 2013 was based on the notion that House and Senate offices would file as small businesses individually.

Clearly, the idea that the House and Senate are small businesses is a scam — and Trump can easily get rid of it by telling OPM to scrap the rule and force Congress to purchase their health insurance through an Obamacare exchange without an employer contribution.

“We think that if the president did that, it would create a much more favorable alignment of incentives for Congress to actually get repeal right because they would, as the law itself originally envisioned, be in the same boat as the people most adversely impacted by Obamacare, which are people who are paying their own premiums in the individual exchange, not qualifying for subsidies and without an employer contribution,” said Kerpen.

Kerpen said that his sources within the White House have indicated that the rule change is “under consideration,” although Kerpen felt that if the Senate passes some form of Obamacare repeal this week, the White House might not view the rule change as necessary.

Overall, Kerpen said that when people are informed about the Obamacare congressional exemption, they are angry about it, as evident through the large response rates to American Commitment’s email lists and Kerpen’s tweets on the matter.

“This particular aspect of the overall health care fight is something that kind of has an immediate effect with people very broadly,” said Kerpen.

American Commitment’s full letter on the exemption can be read here.

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