McCaul Resolution: Proposed ObamaCare Exemption for Congress is Hypocrisy

Aug 9, 2013
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX) announced today he is drafting a resolution of disapproval of the administration's efforts to give members of Congress and their staff a special exemption from Obamacare.

“I strongly oppose ObamaCare and have fought tirelessly to defund, repeal and delay its implementation,” said Congressman Michael McCaul (TX-10).  “However, it is the height of hypocrisy for Congress to be exempt from a bad law that applies to everyone except Congress.  Instead of exempting the political class from a healthcare law that drives up premiums, puts government between patients and their doctors and erodes thequality of care, the President should exempt all Americans from his failed policies and work with House Republicans to repeal and replace this law."

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced today that it has proposed a rule which will allow members of Congress to circumvent the President’s healthcare law and continue to receive healthcare premium subsidies in contravention of the law.Currently, federal employees receive health coverage through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), which is administered by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  The FEHBP operates as an employer defined-contribution plan, meaning that the employee picks the coverage they prefer from a menu of competing insurance policies and their employer contributes an amount toward the premium. 

In 2009, during debate over the new healthcare law, legislative language was adopted that very clearly stipulates that, as of January 1, 2014, the only health insurance plans that Members of Congress and their staff can be offered are plans “offered through an Exchange established under” ObamaCare.  The intent behind this effort was to expose Members of Congress to the health care experience they imposed on their constituents through the new health care law. 

Under current law OPM does not have the authority to provide premium support to aplan that is not one of the FEHBP plans under contract.  Congressman McCaul sees no legal way for OPM to issue a rule that would allow for Members of Congress and their staff to continue to receive health coverage under the FEHBP after December 31, 2013.  Congressman McCaul also strongly disapproves of any rule that would allow Congress to circumvent the law through executive action, as OPM is proposing at the direction of the President.