Trump wants Congress to feel the pain
WASHINGTON» Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House budget office, clarified a vague threat issued by President Donald Trump on Twitter on Saturday, saying the president wants members of Congress to bear more of the burden for their heavily subsidized health insurance if they fail to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
In one of the 13 tweets he rattled off on Saturday, Trump wrote: “If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!”
The Affordable Care Act required members of Congress, along with their staff, to buy health-care insurance through the online markets created under the law, the signature legislative achievement of the Obama presidency. But the lawmakers and their staff members generally make too much to qualify for subsidies under the law meant for low-income Americans. So former President Barack Obama decided to let individual congressional offices be counted as small businesses, thereby allowing members and their staff to qualify for the subsidies.
On Saturday, Trump threatened to undo that Obama administration decision, effectively yanking away the federal government’s contribution to the insurance plans of members of Congress and their staff. Currently, their employer (i.e., taxpayers) pays 72 percent of their premiums.
“I talked to the president at length about that exact issue yesterday,” Mulvaney said. He continued, “What he’s saying is, look, if Obamacare is hurting people, and it is, then why shouldn’t it hurt insurance companies and, more importantly perhaps for this discussion, members of Congress?”