Sen. Dean Heller is asking the Office of Management and Budget to require all congressional staff to get health care through the new exchanges.
The Nevada Republican's letter comes one day after two other Senate Republicans announced legislation to require senior executive branch officials and all congressional staff to get their health care through the Obamacare exchanges. Those senators were Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming and David Vitter of Louisiana.
The full letter appears below:
The Honorable Elaine Kaplan Acting Director Office of Personnel Management 1900 E Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20415 Dear Acting Director Kaplan: I write to you today expressing my disappointment with your agency’s proposed rule to amend the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program regarding coverage for Members of Congress and their staff. Rather than seizing this opportunity to clearly mandate that all Congressional staff, including Committee and Leadership, be subject to the consequences of ObamaCare, you simply perpetuated this uncertainty. This is a missed opportunity for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which currently administers and operates Congressional health care, to ensure that all Congressional staff, including Committee and Leadership, play by the same rules as the American taxpayer. Since my time on the House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee, I pushed for legislation to include all Members of Congress and their dependents in the exchanges. As details became clearer as to who would be exempt from the legislation, I asked that all Congressional staff, the President, and political appointees be included under the exchanges so we could avoid this exact issue we face today. As you issue your final rule in order to comply with Section 1312 of the Affordable Care Act, I encourage you to clarify this issue once and for all and require in addition to Members of Congress that all Congressional staff – Committee and Leadership – to go into the exchanges. In the absence of such a regulatory certainty, Congress should provide a legislative fix that will determine who is and who is not covered under the exchanges. I have cosponsored legislation with Senator David Vitter (R-LA), requiring Leadership and Committee staff, as well as the executive branch, to be included under the health care exchanges so that the application of this section of the Affordable Care Act can finally be determined. I will continue to push both Senate and House Leadership for consideration of this legislation. By no means should those who wrote this massive health care law be exempt from the health care exchanges. When the Administration issued its draft rule determining how this law applies to staff, this principle should have been made very clear. Let me reiterate my deep concern for the implementation of the health care exchanges. However, if every American must be subject to ObamaCare, then all Members of Congress and their staff, you, and all political appointees must be included in this onerous mandate as well. Sincerely, DEAN HELLER U.S. Senator