Friday, July 14, 2017
President Trump Should Threaten Congress with Revoking their President Obama ObamaCare Waiver
President Trump may know the Art of the Deal, but he’s not yet a President Lyndon Baines Johnson. LBJ, both as Senate Majority Leader and President of the United States, was a master politician, who knew how to cajole both Democrats and Republicans in enacting legislation. Former Speaker Nancy and former Senate Majority and Minority Leader Harry Reid were good, but they were no LBJ. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is no LBJ, and neither is Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Admittedly, they lack some of the powers of past presidents and Congressional leaders to enforce party solidarity. The Speaker Gingrich House eliminated earmarks, reducing the ability to “buy” Congressional votes. The media will savage President Trump if it was discovered he made threats or express offers to individual members of Congress. He does have one ace in the hole. The ObamaCare statute threw members of Congress and Congressional staffers into ObamaCare and stripped them of their 75% federal subsidy. The statute provides “The only health plans that the federal government may make available to members of Congress and Congressional staff … shall be health plans that are … (i) created under this Act … or (ii) offered through an exchange ….” The language is very clear. The intent was to not exempt Congress from ObamaCare. President Obama in 2013 ignored the express provisions of the statute. He granted a waiver pursuant to which the Office of Personnel Management allowed the members of Congress and their staffers to obtain health insurance in the District of Columbia Small Business Exchange (SHOP). Both Federal and District of Columbia law limits SHOP to small employers with no more than 50 employees. That definitely excludes Congress. President Obama also let them retain their 75% federal subsidy. President Trump should explicitly state that if the Republicans do not carry through their promise to repeal and reform ObamaCare, then he will revoke the illegal Obama Congressional waiver. The media will scream. So what, the American people will cheer. The Hill will erupt with outrage. Americans hate that type of double standard between them and Congress. The House of representatives supposedly represent “the people.” Let them join the people. If ObamaCare is failing, then Congress and its staffers should share in the pain. If they have to feel the pain, then they will act. President Trump should make that threat.