Alexander Opposes Exempting Unions From Obamacare Fee

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.), Orrin Hatch (R-Ut.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and 18 of their Republican colleagues today urged the Obama administration against moving forward with a proposed regulation that would exempt unions from an Obamacare fee that applies equally to employers, charities, and faith-based organizations.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a regulation on Oct. 30, stating that the agency intends to propose further rulemaking which would aim to exempt certain Taft-Hartley union health plans from the reinsurance fee mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

In a letter to Sylvia Burwell, director of the Office of Management and Budget, the senators write: “The [reinsurance] fee is undeniably expensive for unions, employers, charities and faith-based organizations whose health plans are not available in the new health insurance exchanges and will not see any of those dollars returned to them. For the year 2014, the fee is $63 per covered life—a multi-million dollar levy for larger organizations.

“The regulation makes no justification as to why union members should be exempted from this fee while other similarly situated organizations (and, ultimately, their beneficiaries) must continue to pay it.

“It has been widely reported that labor unions recently sought an exemption from the reinsurance fee through Congress but were rightly rebuffed. To think that the Obama Administration would consider such an action that benefits one group over another can only be characterized as cronyism at its worst.

“Self-insured health insurance plans—whether or not they also self-administer—are all facing the same dilemma of being forced to subsidize insurance companies participating in the new exchange. The regulatory process is meant to implement the law as written, not as the Administration wishes it were. If the law will unfairly hurt certain groups, it should be repealed or amended through Congress.

Click here to see the letter.

Senator Alexander is the senior Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee, Senator Hatch is the senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, and Senator Thune is the senior Republican on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Together, those committees have key oversight roles concerning our nation’s health care system.

The letter was also signed by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), John Barrasso (R-Wy.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Tom Coburn (R-Ok.), Thad Cochran (R-Ms.), Mike Enzi (R-Wy.), Jeff Flake (R-Az.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.), James Inhofe (R-Ok.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mike Johanns (R-Ne.), Ron Johnson (R-Wi.), Mike Lee (R-Ut.), John McCain (R-Az.), Pat Roberts (R-Ks.), and Tim Scott (R-S.C.).


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: AKRIDGE, ANTONIO MARCELLOUS  1521 HICKORY VALLEY RD APT 505 CHATTANOOGA, 37421  Age at Arrest: 26 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County VIOLATION OF PROBATION (CRIMINAL TRESPASSING) --- ALLEN, DEQUISHA LASHALLE  1246 CYPRESS STREET COURT CHATTANOOGA, 37402  Age at Arrest: 26 ... (click for more)

Leaders Of Mayor’s Citizen Safety Coalition Condemn Killing Of Bianca Horton

In response to the murder of Bianca Horton, Bishop Kevin Adams and Dr. Charles Mitchell released the following statement: “Today there are four children without their mother. Bianca Horton, mother of four, was killed yesterday.  In a few weeks she was to testify in the shooting of her infant daughter.  This cycle of violence is unacceptable. "Bianca was standing ... (click for more)

Case Handled Like Any Other? - And Response

It is interesting that Chief Fletcher would deem the handling of the Mayor's encounter as typical or normal. Is the Chief asking the public to believe that all misdemeanor domestic violence arrests include a 4-hour taped interrogation, and delayed reporting after a visit to the Chief’s house. Of course, we believe that Chief Fletcher. April Eidson * * *  I ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Judge's Night Behind Bars

There is very little doubt that retired Army Sergeant Joe Serna has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after serving three tours as a Green Beret in Afghanistan. Once he barely avoided being blown up by a hidden IED and then there was another terrifying brush with a suicide bomber. But the worst was when a truck he was in slid off the roadway into a canal. “It was like ... (click for more)

Baylor Rolls Past St. Benedict In D-II Softball Opener

MURFREESBORO – The Baylor softball team had somewhat of a slow start here at McKnight Field No. 3 Wednesday morning as they began defense of their D-II state softball crown, but they finished on a strong note and that’s probably all that matters at this point. The Lady Red Raiders, improving to 35-4, needed just five innings to slide past St. Benedict as they scored at least ... (click for more)

Baylor Rocks GPS, 8-2, For Shot At 10th State Softball Championship

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The magic number Baylor’s softball team has in mind now is 10. After polishing off bitter rival Girls Preparatory School – a seemingly constant opponent at TSSAA’s Spring Fling – by 8-2 Thursday in the Division II-AA winner’s bracket final, the Lady Red Raiders are zeroed in on a game that could produce their 10 th  state championship.  “It ... (click for more)