Watchdog: Congress using fraudulent applications to get healthcare benefits subsidized by taxpayers

by WorldTribune Staff, June 26, 2017

Judicial Watch is asking the Trump administration to end the practice of Congress members and their staff getting, with taxpayer subsidies, health care coverage through the District of Columbia’s small business Obamacare exchange.

Judicial Watch said it had previously uncovered false applications filed by the House of Representatives and Senate with the D.C. Exchange Authority showing that the House and Senate claimed to have only 45 employees each. They also show that the House and Senate attested to having “50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees.”

Congress employs upwards of 20,000 people.

“Congress, through fraud, is violating Obamacare to get taxpayers to pay for its health insurance,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “If the Trump administration required Congress to follow the law, taxpayers would be saving money, pure and simple. We hope the Trump administration will end this clear violation of law by Congress.”

Judicial Watch said that since Obamacare limits the purchase of insurance on a small business exchange to employees of small businesses – and Congress is not a small business – the law “unequivocally requires that certain members of Congress and congressional employees purchase insurance on an individual exchange created either by their state of residence (or by the District, if they are a D.C. resident) or by the federal government for that state.”

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM), however, “determined that the DC SHOP is the appropriate SHOP from which members of Congress and designated congressional staff will purchase health insurance in order to receive a Government contribution,” Judicial Watch noted.

The Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance stating: “Consistent with the OPM rule, this guidance clarifies that offices of the Members of Congress are considered qualified employers eligible to offer coverage to Members and designated Congressional staff through the appropriate SHOP as determined by OPM.”

Because certain members of Congress and congressional employees are enrolled in a small business exchange, “the government is contributing monies contrary” to the Obamacare law, Judicial Watch said.

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