In 5 days, the Senate health care reconciliation vehicle will expire — eliminating any chance of repealing Obamacare this year if the deadline is not met.
As it stands now, political prediction markets give the Republican Congress a 9 percent chance of passing a health care bill. Those odds seem generous.
While President Trump undoubtedly does not wish to face the political embarrassment of being unable to tackle health care, the fact is, he has yet to play the ace up his sleeve: repealing Congress’s Obamacare bailout.
As I previously noted:
After passing the “Affordable Care Act,” Congress pleaded with President Obama to exempt lawmakers and their staff from Obamacare — because its plans aren’t so “affordable”.
In response, Obama issued an OPM rule forcing taxpayers to continue paying for health insurance for Members and staff, and Congress filed documents claiming that the House and Senate were a “small business” with under 50 employees and therefore not subject to Obamacare’s regulations.
It’s no wonder Congress hasn’t repealed Obamacare yet — they don’t have to deal with soaring insurance costs like the rest of us.
President Trump has threatened to end Congress’ Obamacare bailout before. If he threatened to do so again in the event Congress doesn’t successfully repeal Obamacare and meant it, watch what would happen to the aforementioned political prediction odds.
The fact is Members of Congress and their staff are shielded from the financial pain of Obamacare due to a subsidy worth around $12,000 a year. And why should they receive it? Does any politician have the audacity to say their office is a small business and therefore eligible for the small business Obamacare exchange? No other large employer in America would dare attempt such a stunt.
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You can take it to the bank that the Trump administration is receiving pushback from Capitol Hill over any talk of eliminating their bailout. But if Congress can’t repeal Obamacare after spending an entire year trying — what favors does Trump owe this do-nothing Congress?
If President Trump eliminates Congress’ Obamacare bailout, he can stand in solidarity with those (including myself) who suffer from Obamacare’s sky-high costs. There is no doubt that Congress will feel a greater sense of urgency to combat our health care crisis once they are experiencing it themselves firsthand.
It’s bad enough that Congress can’t repeal Obamacare, but forcing Americans to contribute to their health care slush fund is simply unconscionable.
President Trump: Fire up that Twitter. Tell Congress that if they don’t repeal Obamacare, you will repeal their bailout.
Photo credit: NOBama NoMas via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0