Pres­i­dent re­news threat on law­mak­ers’ health in­surance

Austin American-Statesman - - VIEWPOINTS - By John T. Ben­nett CQ Roll Call

On a day he planned to try again to — — re­set his em­bat­tled pres­i­dency, Don­ald Trump kicked off Mon­day by again threaten- ing law­mak­ers’ health in­surance.

The pres­i­dent re­peated his threat — ini­tially made on Satur­day — to strip the em­ployer con­tri­bu­tion for health in­surance away from

mem­bers of Congress in a morn­ing tweet fired off about an hour be­fore he swore in

his new White House chief of staff, re­tired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly.

Trump tweeted that the Af­ford­able Care Act is “hurt

ing peo­ple,” and in­surance com­pa­nies and law­mak­ers

should share in that pain. On Congress mem­bers, he asked,

“why should Congress not be pay­ing what pub­lic pays?”

“If Oba­maCare is hurt­ing peo­ple, & it is, why shouldn’t it hurt the in­surance compa- nies & why should Congress not be pay­ing what pub­lic pays?” he tweeted.

As part of the 2010 health care law, mem­bers of Congress and many staffers were shifted out of the usual Fed­eral Em­ployee Health Ben­e­fits struc­ture and into the new in­surance ex­changes set up by the law.

The Of­fice of Per­son­nel Man­age­ment un­der Pres­i­dent Barack Obama de­ter­mined that the em­ployer con­tri­bu­tion por­tion of the pre­mi­ums could flow through the District of Columbia’s health in­surance ex­change.

Trump has the au­thor­ity to end law­mak­ers’ ex­emp­tion, as sev­eral con­ser­va­tive po­lit­i­cal groups are urg­ing him to do.

The first part of Trump’s tweet ap­peared to be another threat to stop mak­ing cost shar i ng re­duc t ion pay­ments to in­surance com­pa­nies un­der the 2010 health care law that help sub­si­dize ex­penses for lower-in­come pol­i­cy­hold­ers.

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