President Donald Trump is threatening to make insurance companies and members of Congress feel the pain inflicted on millions of Americans by Obamacare.
In a couple of tweets sent Monday morning, the president demanded that Republicans continue to fight for health insurance reform, as they promised, and insinuated that should Congress fail to act, their exemption from Obamacare would be removed.
Don't give up Republican Senators, the World is watching: Repeal & Replace...and go to 51 votes (nuke option), get Cross State Lines & more.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 30, 2017
If ObamaCare is hurting people, & it is, why shouldn't it hurt the insurance companies & why should Congress not be paying what public pays?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2017
The president’s tweets echo what he said Saturday.
If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017
What are these bailouts the president is talking about?
For insurance companies, it is the cost-sharing reimbursements the Obama administration began paying to subsidize insurance plans for the poor. Obamacare’s regulations and government-managed insurance marketplaces have caused insurance premiums and deductibles to increase year after year, pricing out most Americans from affordable insurance. To fix this government-created problem and keep insurance companies from collapsing under the weight of plans they can’t afford to offer, the government, without the consent of Congress, is paying them. CR senior editor Daniel Horowitz has pointed out that this program is both costly and illegal.
For members of Congress, it is their illegal exemption from Obamacare, as Horowitz has explained, calling for an end to these bailouts:
Under Section 1312(d)(3)(D) of Obamacare, members of Congress were no longer eligible for health subsidies through the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program. They were required, like every other resident of D.C., to purchase a plan on the exchange. And given that their income level is well above the subsidy line, they would have had to pay the full inflated price like the rest of us poor losers. Yet, in 2013, Obama’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) wrote a rule treating Congress like a small business with less than 50 employees, which, under the D.C. Small Business Exchange, would be eligible for subsidies.
So members of Congress are currently protected from the premium increases and high deductibles millions of Americans have and continue to face under Obamacare. Is it any wonder they don’t see the urgency of fully repealing this legislation now?
It’s great that President Trump seems to understand these points and states them on Twitter. But, as Horowitz has also said, “Twitter is not a policy outcome.” Trump needs to quit tweeting about removing these illegal bailouts and do it.
Maybe once insurance companies and Congress feel the pain of Obamacare, Republicans will get together and follow through with their promise to repeal it.
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.