Recently, US Pres. Donald Trump threatened lawmakers and their staff in a tweet by saying he would block federal funding that these people rely on when buying health insurance. This move was because the GOP failed to repeal Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act.
The threats of the President are not empty. The payments can be stopped by the administration instantly. These payments were originally provided to the lawmakers and staff members of Capitol Hill just like how most employers all over the country would help pay the monthly insurance premiums of their employees. The Trump administration can dash off a brand new federal regulation to put a stop to the payments.
Trump’s attack to lawmakers skims on what a lot of people would say to be a fair minded, yet complicated compromise that was made during the debates regarding Obamacare several years back.
Under Obamacare, the federal government allowed lawmakers to have insurance but they had to purchase policies through exchanges of the ACA.
At the time, there was great criticism, especially from the healthcare bill's opponents. According to them, congressional staff and lawmakers should not be exempted from the law.
For those who want to buy an individual insurance through the exchanges, they can apply and check if their geographic area and income permit them to enjoy federal subsidies. However, this was prohibited for lawmakers. Instead, they would get regular employer contribution. This is the same process as the one companies use to buy insurance for their workers.
For federal workers, 70% of their insurance costs are covered by the government. This is the same amount that employers from the private sectors pay for an employee's insurance.
To cut the funds off, the administration has to reverse course and set another regulation to change the rules. Trump seemed ready to do this from the tweets he made last weekend.
"Why is the Congress not paying what the public pays? If the health care bill does not get approved anytime soon, then bailouts for members of the Congress and bailouts for insurance providers will end in the near future", tweeted Trump.
This move is sure to cause an uproar as the Congress would have to deal with their staffs. Members of the Congress are not the only ones who will be affected but their staff members will now be required to pay the full price on their insurance plans.
Stopping this seems tough. It would require the Congress to pass the proposed healthcare bill to ensure the federal payments will be made. From what we see, only a few lawmakers may take up the cause.
According to Trump, the present health care bill is hurting the public. However, it is "not hurting congressional lawmakers and insurance providers".
Multiple efforts by the Republicans to scrap Obamacare have failed which is why Trump is now turning back to his populist base.