ACA Mandates Questioned by Congress and States Alike

At the heart of Washington, government workers are concerned about what healthcare reform will mean for them. A mandate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will require Congress members and their aids to obtain health insurance coverage through the state exchange marketplace.

At the heart of Washington, government workers are concerned about what healthcare reform will mean for them. A mandate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will require Congress members and their aids to obtain health insurance coverage through the state exchange marketplace.

If the US government cannot find a way to cover federal worker premiums, individuals may pay an additional $5000 a year, and families may see upwards of $11000 for comprehensive coverage.

Billy Long, a Representative for Missouri, said this increase in premiums is a serious concern for staff members as they worry about the prospect of paying more out of their own pockets.

“They’re thinking about leaving government service,” Mr Long said. “They’re thinking about taking jobs other places. We have tried, and tried, and tried to get the answer on what they’re going to be paying. The Office of Personnel Management cannot tell us.”

As exchange enrollment dates approach, the Obama administration is debating as to how they can reinterpret the health law to continue contributing towards federal employees’ insurance, but finding a loop hole is difficult.

In addition, Congress members are not the only Americans testing the written laws of the ACA. Oklahoma officials have filed a lawsuit against the government in protest of the health law's insurance subsidies, which are only offered to state-run exchanges, and not federally-run exchanges.

“Thirty-four states have decided not to play the ObamaCare game and opted for a federally created exchange or the partnership, which means the federal subsidies will not be available to millions of middle- and lower-income workers in those states," said Merrill Matthews, resident scholar at the Institute for Policy Innovation in Dallas, Texas. ”And without the subsidies, insurance would become ‘unaffordable’ under ObamaCare for the vast majority of those families. They would thus be exempted from the mandate to have coverage, and their employers would be exempted from the penalty for not providing it.”

Oklahoma, like those on Capitol Hill, hope that bringing these flaws to the attention of government officials will poke holes in the healthcare reform mandates, thus saving millions from facing expensive fines and subsidies.

Around the Web

Wrinkle in Health Law Vexes Lawmakers’ Aides [NY Times]

Oklahoma Lawsuit Could Effectively Defund ObamaCare [Forbes]