Trump wants Congress to feel the pain

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Dino Gran­doni

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?”

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