CCAGW Leads Coalition Calling for Ethics Inquiry over Questionable ObamaCare Enrollments

For Immediate Release Contact: Curtis Kalin 202-467-5318
June 25, 2015  

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste led a coalition of nine organizations in filing a complaint with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, requesting an investigation into whether senators and/or staff members may have committed fraud and broken laws when they submitted applications to the Washington, D.C. Health Insurance Marketplace.  By claiming status as a “small business,” they were able to buy insurance and qualify for taxpayer-funded subsidies.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as ObamaCare, required that members of Congress and their staff enroll in individual plans through the healthcare exchanges created by the law.  As open enrollment approached in 2014, members and staff realized that by enrolling as individuals, they would no longer receive generous taxpayer-funded contributions to help pay their insurance premiums as they had for decades under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.  They would instead only qualify for subsidies if their household income was less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level, just like millions of other Americans that had to purchase insurance in the individual market.

To get around this problem, senators from both sides of the aisle worked with the White House and the Office of Personnel Management to issue guidance that permitted them and their staff to enroll in the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), which was created under ObamaCare.  The applications that were submitted to the D.C. Health Link Small Business Exchange claimed that Senate offices were a small business with fewer than 50 employees, used the first and last names ‘Twenty” and ‘Congress’ respectively, and attested the statements were true. 

“It is clear that the Senate and Senate offices are not small businesses,” declared Council for Citizens Against Government Waste President Tom Schatz.  “The Senate had several opportunities to provide subsidies for themselves as they wrote ACA, but chose not to; members and staff were supposed to purchase health insurance in the individual marketplace.  We are pleased to be joined by nine other prominent organizations in asking the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate the senators or staff members that may have broken laws and committed fraud by purchasing health insurance on the District of Columbia’s small business exchange.  The fact that Congress has exempted themselves from the harmful effects of ObamaCare is yet another reason for this law to be repealed and replaced.”

The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste is the lobbying arm of the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.

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