How to Get Congress Moving on Health Care Reform
Congress is immune to ObamaCare's financial squeeze. Trump can change that and get health care reform rolling.
The DC Beltway is a scourge on American society. The recent health care debacle — namely, Republicans’ failure to repeal or replace ObamaCare — is proof. The confluence of power in the nation’s capital means corruption is ripe. But even as corruption spreads, congressional members are largely immune to the effects. For example, most members of Congress aren’t in a hurry to overhaul health care because they have absolutely no firsthand experience of ObamaCare’s financial squeeze.
No wonder so many embrace an outsider like Donald Trump. He recently tweeted, “If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!” Furthermore, he posed the question: “If ObamaCare is hurting people, & it is, why shouldn’t it hurt the insurance companies & why should Congress not be paying what public pays?”
As The Wall Street Journal editorializes, “He’s onto something with his recent suggestion that Members of Congress should have to live under the health-care law they imposed on Americans.” In essence, though Congress is lawfully mandated to procure health insurance through ObamaCare, the schemers on Capitol Hill took advantage of a loophole. Previously, Congress enjoyed a hefty subsidy courtesy of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. However, once ObamaCare arrived, the existing subsidies were never actually dealt with, meaning they were an open target for those with the audacity to exploit them. As WSJ explains it:
A meltdown ensued as Members feared that staffers would be exposed to thousands of dollars more in annual health-care costs, replete with predictions that junior aides would clean out their desks en masse. Mr. Obama intervened in 2013 and the Office of Personnel Management issued a rule that would allow employer contributions to exchange plans, not that OPM had such legal authority. One hilarious detail is that OPM certified the House and Senate as “small businesses” with fewer than 50 full-time employees, and no doubt the world would be better if that were true. This invention allowed Members to purchase plans on the District of Columbia exchange for small businesses, where employers can make contributions to premiums. This is a farce and maybe a fraud.
The Journal points out that Trump can nullify this egregious rule. Consequently, “Revoking the rule would have the political benefit of forcing Members to live under the regime that Democrats rammed into law and Republicans have failed to fix. If Members are pained by higher premiums and fewer insurance choices, perhaps they will be inspired to fix the law for the millions who have had to endure it.” Indeed. The least they can do is suffer along with us. Yet something tells us they won’t do so voluntarily. So if America wants Congress to enact a less destructive health care law, Trump can start by ripping the unfair advantages out from under members of Congress.