WASHINGTON — Sen. David Vitter, R-La., announced Tuesday that he would file legislation next month to require that congressional staffers, members of Congress and even the president acquire their health insurance through exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act.
The health care law was originally written to require that congressional members and their staffs get their insurance through the exchanges. But a federal rule issued earlier this month made it optional for lawmakers and their employees to continue receiving the subsidized premium health benefits plans just like most large businesses.
Vitter and other Republicans have called it hypocritical for lawmakers and congressional staffers to not have to participate in the “Obamacare” law that Congress and President Barack Obama created. Vitter will cosponsor the proposed law change with Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.
Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., is working on a similar proposal in the House.
Vitter contended that the Obama administration’s Office of Personnel Management was pressured by congressional leaders — Democrats and Republicans — to offer exceptions.
“These recent maneuverings inside the beltway are precisely why the American people rightly despise Congress,” Vitter said in his announcement.
“Our legislation gets right to the core of the OPM ‘fix’ for Washington. Some of our colleagues may try some slick maneuver to avoid political backlash by allowing members to hide their exemption from the public, but our amendment is clear.”
Vitter’s proposal also would require the president, the vice president and all political appointees to acquire their insurance through the health care law’s exchanges.
“If Obamacare is good enough for the American people, it should be good enough for Congress, the president and vice president, and other policy makers in Washington,” Enzi added.