Rand Paul says he does not want taxpayers subsidizing the personal health-care plans of any federal employee — including Chief Justice John Roberts — anymore. As some in Congress arguing lawmakers and their staff should not get subsidies to cover their health insurance as President Obama’s health-care law goes into effect, the Republican senator from Kentucky told The Daily Caller on Sunday that he’s going to start pushing a constitutional amendment that goes even further.
Paul has proposed outlawing any special exemptions for government employees — would mean all federal workers would have to purchase health insurance on the new Obamacare exchanges instead of getting taxpayer-funded subsidies. Some critics say those subsidies amount to special treatment. The Obamacare health insurance exchange opens Oct 1.
“My amendment says basically that everybody including Justice Roberts — who seems to be such a fan of Obamacare — gets it too,” Paul told TheDC by phone on Sunday from Mackinac Island in Michigan, where he won a straw poll of potential Republican candidates for president in 2016.
“See, right now, Justice Roberts is still continuing to have federal employee health insurance subsidized by the taxpayer,” Paul said. “And if he likes Obamacare so much, I’m going to give him an amendment that gives Obamacare to Justice Roberts.”
His proposal comes as conservatives became outraged that congress exempted themselves and staff from the law.
The “Obamacare fix” for lawmakers and staff was made because the Affordable Care Act includes an amendment from a Republican senator that changes how the government currently covers most of the cost of health-care premiums for members of Congress and their staffers. The new law mandates that members and staff must enter into exchanges or be covered by insurance “created” by law.
But once all of congress whined about having to pay more, the Office of Personnel Management announced in August that it would provide a subsidy of about 75 percent of the cost for the health care of members and staff.
Lawmakers, including Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, have defended the special Obamacare exemptions being made for lawmakers and their staff. Earlier this month, the Nevada Democrat flatly stated, “That’s what the law says, and we’ll be part of that.”
“We’ll be treated like the rest of the federal employees,” Reid said. “It’s nothing unique that employers help pay for health care.”