On Aug. 8, 2013, in response to bipartisan complaints concerning the implementation of Obamacare's impact on Congressional offices, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) proposed a rule that violates the very clear purpose and intent of the law as enacted. The rule would permit the federal government to make a contribution toward health insurance premiums for members of Congress and their staffs when they purchase health insurance through an exchange. Obamacare originally directed that members and their staffs would no longer be eligible for insurance through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), but instead would have to purchase health insurance on an exchange or in the open market without receiving a pre-tax payment by their employer.
Yesterday, Senator Johnson and several members of his staff urged OPM to reconsider its rule, which they contend this administration does not have the legal authority to institute.
“When I ran my company, Pacur, I felt that providing my employees with a health insurance plan was important. It is equally concerning to me that my staff in the Senate will no longer have access to their current insurance plans, as President Obama promised all Americans when he campaigned for Obamacare,” Senator Johnson said. “But even more egregious than the president’s failure to abide by his promise is his proposed bailout for Congress when millions of other working, middle class Americans are facing the same dilemma. The answer is not to protect the privileged few here in Washington from this legislation. The answer is to repeal a law that is fundamentally flawed, is driving up health insurance costs, is impossible to implement efficiently, and is increasingly unfair to the American people.
“My intent is to make sure President Obama is not allowed to exceed his legal authority in implementing this law, and that members of Congress and their staffs are not shielded from the harmful effects of this law that every other American will experience.”