Rep. DeSantis Introducing Bill to Stop Obamacare Subsidies for Congress

August 27, 2013 - 7:16 AM

obamacare application

Draft of application for Affordable Care Act. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) says it’s not fair that members of Congress and their staffs will get special taxpayer subsidies to help them pay their Obamacare premiums in the new health insurance exchanges.

“I don't think it's fair at all,” DeSantis told Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren.

“We can't treat ourselves as a separate governing class. We're supposed to be serving the American people. So I'm going to file legislation when we get back to basically stop that. I don't think it's lawful in the first place because the Obamacare provision at issue is pretty clear that we're supposed to be in the exchanges like everybody else.”

DeSantis also takes issue with the subsidy decision that was made administratively, by the federal Office of Personnel Management. He said if subsidies are to be given, Congress should pass a law creating them.

But, DeSantis  added, “They knew they wouldn't be able to get away with it. So they had the bureaucracy issue this administrative rule. Guess what's happening. That means members of Congress aren't going to have to go on record to say whether they support this or not.

“And so one of the reasons I'm filing this bill is because I think that the American people should know whether their member of Congress believes they should get a subsidy that the rest of the country is not eligible for.”

In the Senate, David Vitter (R-La.) introduced a bill earlier this year that would end the Obamacare exemption for Members of Congress and their staffs.  Vitter said his bill also would eliminate a "loophole" that exempts the President, Vice President, political appointees and some congressional staff from being forced into the Obamacare exchanges.

"The Obamacare statute states very clearly that all Members of Congress and their staffs are to procure their health insurance through the Obamacare Exchange," Vitter said in an August news release. He noted that "no ordinary American" at that income level buying health insurance on the Exchange would receive any government subsidy, much less one worth approximately $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for a family.

The Obama administration, reportedly fearing a ‘brain drain’ if congressional employees had to pay so much more for their health insurance on the exchanges, decided to continue the contribution those employees now receive under the current Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

Vitter said the "bailout" by the Office of Personnel Management was "pulled out of thin air under intense and, sadly, bipartisan political pressure."

“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.”