House Republicans are pushing forward on their pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare — so long as they don’t have to deal with any negative consequences.
An amendment to the failed American Health Care Act submitted late Tuesday would exempt members of Congress and their staff from the effects of Obamacare replacement, reported Vox.
The changes to the bill would allow states to opt out of Obamacare’s ban on insurers charging higher premiums for pre-existing conditions — meaning that sick people could once again be faced with higher premiums just because they’re sick.
While Republican legislators included this provision in their amendment, it provides an exemption for Congress.
Since Obamacare requires all members of Congress and their staff to purchuase health care through the same marketplace as Obamacare enrollees, they would be vulnerable to any changes implemented.
If the amendment is approved, it would mean states could decide — on an individual basis — to waive the ban on charging more for pre-existing conditions, or waive coverage for things like maternity care and mental health.
Apparently that didn’t sound too good to the Republican authors of the amendment, who included themselves on the exemption list — page six of the eight-page amendment, Timothy Jost, professor emeritus at the Washington and Lee University School of Law, wrote on Health Affairs Blog.
“Members of Congress are not going to lose essential health benefits or be subject to health status underwriting,” he wrote.
One of the authors of the amendment, Republican Rep. Thomas MacArthur, is working to get rid of the language that allows Congress to be exempt, an aide said.
"Congressman MacArthur does not believe members of Congress or their staff should receive special treatment and is working with House leadership to make absolutely clear that members of Congress and staff are subject to the same rules, provisions and protections as all other Americans," Camille Gallow, a spokeswoman for MacArthur, told The Hill.
Nevertheless, Democrats jumped at the chance to berate their political counterparts:
How bad is the new version of TrumpCare? So bad that Republican Congressmen exempted themselves from it. https://t.co/NyJ4o6EQPH— DNC Press (@dncpress) April 26, 2017
Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California wrote:
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio jumped on board too, saying:
You wouldn’t trust a New York City hot dog vendor who refuses to eat his own food… https://t.co/RDyMbr3Ik3— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 26, 2017