WASHINGTON — Among critics of the Obama administration’s decision to exempt members of Congress and their staff from the president’s contentious health care plan are Republican Colorado lawmakers who say the ruling is unfair and that they are still determined to abolish Obamacare.
“The public has every right to be outraged by the administration’s late-night decision to force the American taxpayer to continue subsidizing 75% of the healthcare premiums for members of Congress and their staff,” said Rep. Mike Coffman.
“If these exchanges and the costs associated with them are good enough for the American people, then they should be good enough for all of those government officials who thought this was such a great idea,” Coffman said.
President Barack Obama’s team ruled last week that Congress and staffers would not have to participate in the federal health exchanges he created. The Obama administration has also agreed to let other entities out of the plan including more than 1,000 cities, labor unions and businesses.
Rep. Scott Tipton said that if Congress is going to pass laws intended to affect all Americans, it should apply to Congress as well.
“This is common sense pretty much everywhere except in Washington,” Tipton said.
The stream of waivers and exemptions from the legislation crafted by Democrats that few lawmakers bothered to read are proof that Obamacare is unworkable, Republicans say.
“The fact that the administration continues to issue waivers, provide subsidies, and delay implementation for some segments of the population and not others proves that the law is unworkable, fails to provide affordable or accessible healthcare, and will hurt the economy and cost jobs,” Tipton said.
Before adjourning for the August summer recess, the House passed a bill on a 232 to 185 vote that would block the IRS from implementing Obamacare.
Colorado Republican Reps. Cory Gardner, Doug Lamborn, Tipton and Coffman voted in favor of the measure, while Democrat Reps. Diana DeGette and Jared Polis voted no.
Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter did not cast a vote, but urged his Twitter followers to sign up for the Colorado Health Exchange when enrollment begins Oct. 1.
“Already, Colorado is benefiting from the health law,” Perlmutter said
Lamborn sent a different message to his followers after the vote: “We must stop the Obamacare train wreck now.”
Coffman is fighting back and has authored legislation that would require Congress and its staff, as well as the president, vice president and political appointees to participate in Obamacare when the law takes effect in 2014.
Tipton has cosponsored legislation to defund the law and Gardner is also cosponsoring the Defund Obamacare Act, which has support from Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
“Obamacare needs to go,” Gardner said on his Facebook page.