Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), Chairman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, has been fighting to end Washington’s Obamacare Exemption. Yesterday, he published a Chairman’s report entitled, “Above the People: An Investigation of Congress’ Fraudulent Obamacare Subsidy and the Cover Up to Continue the Special Exemption,” detailing his investigation into how Congress exempted itself from Obamacare.
Earlier this week, Vitter spoke on the Senate floor to introduce legislation that would ensure that Members of Congress, the President, Vice President, and all other political appointees purchase health insurance coverage through a health exchange established under Obamacare and not receive a federal subsidy unavailable to other Americans at the same income level.
Below are a few articles reporting on Vitter’s efforts to end the Washington Obamacare Exemption.
Bridget Bowman | July 20, 2015
Cruz and Vitter have vigorously opposed the government contribution to congressional health care under the Affordable Care Act, calling it a “Washington exemption.” Lawmakers and their staffs were able to maintain that contribution as the result of a 2013 Office of Personnel Management ruling that House and Senate employees could participate in the D.C. Small Businesses Health Option Program, rather than enroll on the individual exchanges.
Vitter contends Congress should not have been allowed to enroll in the small business exchange, since it is, by definition, not a small business under D.C. law since Congress employs more than 50 people. The question of Congress’ characterization as a small business in the exchange was the subject of a recent taxpayer lawsuit, but the suit was dismissed when a D.C. Superior Court judge ruled congressional staff could enroll in the exchange.
Still, Vitter is looking for answers, even after a failed attempt to subpoena the D.C. government over the issue. He listed a series of questions at the end of his report, including which members of Congress met with the White House to discuss the OPM rule.
Bruce Alpert | July 20, 2015
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., blocked by a majority of his Senate Small Business Committee from subpoenaing the names of congressional officials who filed erroneous applications for Affordable Care Act coverage, Monday (July 20) released a draft report with the excuses offered by those refusing to provide the information voluntarily.
"Had the House and Senate completed the on line ...applications with truthful information, the applications would have been automatically rejected by DCHBEA's software system based on employee size and other prohibitive factors," the report said.
Vitter was blocked by a 14-5 vote of his Small Business Committee from subpoenaing the information, with some members saying such a request would distract from the committee's primary mandate – to advance legislation and implement programs to help small businesses thrive. Some suspect that some members didn't' want to cause embarrassment to those who submitted, or requested that the applications be filled out in a way that ensured members and their staffs could still qualify for subsidized health insurance.
Bridget Johnson | July 20, 2015
Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Chairman David Vitter (R-La.) today released the results of an investigation into how Congress avoided Obamacare by putting 15,000 lawmakers and staffers into a healthcare exchange for businesses with 50 or fewer employees.
The report highlights “identical false misrepresentations on the House and Senate applications submitted in November 2013″ to qualify for the exchange intended for 50 or fewer employees and “show a carefully coordinated scheme that likely originated from the same source who either personally completed them or gave instructions to others on how to complete them.”
“Through poorly-written legislation, a free pass from the Obama administration, and a deliberate mislabeling of Congress as a ‘small business,’ United States lawmakers have created a healthcare system that favors a few at the cost of many,” the report states, adding that they’re still trying to ascertain which members of Congress and White House officials met behind closed-doors to come up with the Obamacare exemption.