Opinion – David Vitter – Time to End Obamacare Exemption

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Time to End Obamacare Exemption

When chefs are forced to eat their own cooking, the food always gets a whole lot better. It’s common sense to apply the same logic to Congress. Congress should abide by the laws that it passes, just the same as any other American. Unfortunately, when it comes to the disastrous and expensive Obamacare, that’s not the case.

This week I’ve continued my years-long push to end Washington’s Obamacare exemption. Members of Congress conveniently exempted themselves and their staff from its most onerous provisions, while enabling the President, Vice President, and political appointees who helped craft the law to continue receiving the generous federal employee health benefit. It’s not right, and it’s not fair.

In recent years, Louisianians have seen their health insurance costs skyrocket while others have been forced onto an Obamacare exchange. I firmly believe that Congress should be required to live under the same dysfunctional and financially burdensome healthcare laws they have imposed on the rest of America. That’s why I’ve personally turned down the taxpayer-funded subsidy for Members of Congress and the exemption to Obamacare. It’s quite simple – you don’t get it, Congress shouldn’t get it.

Fundamentally, this was just bad decision-making in the first place, and I want to know who within Congress and the Obama Administration is responsible for this Washington exemption.

It’s been widely reported that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), an agency of the U.S. Government that manages employment, compensation and benefits for the federal government, was in closed-door, back-channel deliberations with Congress and officials in the White House, including President Obama. Ultimately, OPM issued a rule that let Congress avoid the worst effects of Obamacare – the new expensive plans many of you were forced to buy on the exchange. It did so by enabling Congress to register itself as a small business and creating a legal loophole for them to collect a taxpayer-funded subsidy. I think we can all agree that, with over 16,000 employees, Congress is anything but a small business.

No wonder Americans are fed up with Washington politicians.
As Chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, I’ve made it a top priority to find out how Congress was able to game the system and register as a small business. That’s why I have continually demanded all relevant information from OPM on their decision-making process. Unfortunately, top OPM officials have shunted all oversight and accountability for their bad decisions.

The Senate is currently considering the nomination of a new Director to lead OPM. Before moving forward with the nomination, I think it’s past time to get some answers, which is why I am demanding more information.

I’m committed to using every tool in the toolbox to end Washington’s Obamacare Exemption, and in this latest turn of events, I am hopeful that oversight and accountability will prevail so Congress shares the burden of other Americans living under Obamacare.

David Vitter is a U.S. Senator for the
State of Louisiana.