Congressman Tom Cotton

Representing the 4th District of Arkansas
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I Oppose Unlawful Obamacare Subsidies for Members of Congress and Staff

Sep 6, 2013
Cotton Blog
In March of 2010 President Obama and his liberal allies forced Obamacare through Congress, trading special deals and political favors for support. Three years later, as the law is about to take effect, the Obama administration is at it again—this time offering special treatment to politically connected Washington insiders. 
 
Obamacare states that Members of Congress and their staffs are required to enter into the health-insurance exchanges established by Obamacare.  This language was included to ensure that Members of Congress would be forced to abide by the same law as everyone else. 
 
But with the January 1 implantation date looming, the Obama administration recently announced that the federal government would offer subsidies to Members of Congress and their staffs to help offset the costs associated with entering these exchanges. There is no authority within the Affordable Care Act that authorizes Congress to subsidize an employee’s premiums. Instead, income-based subsidies for individuals obtaining insurance on the exchanges are administered through the tax code.
 
Quite simply, this action by the Obama administration is unlawful and a blatant display of political favoritism. Further, it is emblematic of the law’s many failures. 
It seems to me that if Members of Congress who supported the law couldn’t even understand its impact on themselves, then it’s obvious they don’t understand the crushing impact it’s having on Arkansans. 
 
Under Obamacare, Arkansans stand to see their healthcare premiums rise by 60-100 percent. They also face a host of new taxes that will undoubtedly hurt our state economy. Employers like Baptist Hospital in Little Rock have already begun to lay off workers because of the law. And President Obama wants Members of Congress and their staffs to receive special subsidies? We should be the last group to receive special treatment. 
 
Late last month, I wrote to both President Obama and OPM Acting Director in firm opposition to the healthcare subsidies announcement and asked them to reverse the decision.  If they move forward, I will introduce legislation to overturn their decision.  If such legislation doesn’t pass, I will refuse to accept my federal subsidy. 
 
If anyone deserves an exemption from Obamacare it is the hardworking Arkansans and millions of Americans just like them who stand to lose so much from this law. Until the law is fully repealed, we must address the challenges and delay or stop the ill effects of this law where we can—not grant special, sweetheart deals for the politically connected. 
 
Text of the letters I sent to President Obama and Acting OPM Director Kaplan can be found here and here.  Be sure to keep checking the Cotton Blog for updates on my work to stop the unlawful Obamacare subsidies for Members of Congress and their staffs. 
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