September 20 2013

ObamaCare’s Vanishing Act

Vicki E. Alger

Union leaders aren’t happy that they have to abide by the same rules as the rest of us when it comes to ObamaCare. They were hoping they’d get a sweetheart exemption similar to members of Congress and their staffers.

Turns out they weren’t off base thinking they were going to get such a deal.

Earlier this week House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN) asked the Department of Labor (DOL) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) about a regulatory proposal put up on the OMB’s website that was later removed. Inside Health Policy reported on August 27 that an ObamaCare regulation related to unions “vanished” from OMB’s website:

The Office of Management and Budget previously showed on its regulatory review web site that on Aug. 24 it received a Department of Labor proposed rule on “Health Insurance Premium Assistance Trust Supporting the Purchase of Certain Individual Health Insurance Policies.” The rule, which OMB said is ACA-related, also appears to deal with the exclusion from a definition of an employee welfare benefit plan, but this week the description vanished.

Group health plans are employee welfare benefit plans that are established or maintained by an employer, by an employee organization such as a union, or both. The Labor department on Tuesday (Aug. 27) did not return requests for comment as to why the health insurance premium assistance trust proposed rule and description were taken down.

Kline and Roe are demanding answers. They also say the best solution is repealing this government-run healthcare scheme:

“Cutting a back room deal to meet the demands of union leaders will undermine public trust in the rule of law,” said Reps. Kline and Roe. “America's workers and employers deserve better than a flawed health care scheme that destroys full-time jobs, raises costs, and forces families to lose the coverage they like. On behalf of all working families, the labor community must put its weight behind an effort to repeal the law. Dismantling ObamaCare is the only responsible way to ensure workers and families have access to the quality, affordable health care they deserve. In the meantime, Congress will continue to hold the administration accountable for its implementation of the law.”

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