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 If the law will unfairly hurt certain groups, it should be repealed or amended through Congress.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: ABERNATHY, LEROY LEE  4003 LAURA LANE CHATTANOOGA, 37407  Age at Arrest: 60 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County VIOLATION OF SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY --- ADAMS, CHRISTOPHER RYAN  1100 BROWNS FERRY ROAD CHATTANOOGA, 37419  Age at Arrest: 26 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga ... (click for more)

New Hiener Book Of Historic Chattanooga Photos Available At Zarzours

The new Paul Hiener Historic Chattanooga Photos book published by Chattanoogan.com is available at Zarzours Restaurant. Zarzours is located on the Southside on Rossville Avenue behind the Main Street Fire Hall #1. Mr. Hiener, a longtime Chattanooga printer and lifelong resident, collected over 3,000 historic pictures of his beloved hometown. He made some of the photos ... (click for more)

Vehicle Emissions Testing Causes More Pollution Than It Prevents - And Response

While a noble cause to make sure vehicles are operating efficiently with the minimum amount of pollutants, a simple analysis makes it somewhat evident the VET program in Chattanooga causes more pollution that it prevents.  Though I don't know how many vehicles are tested on an annual basis, if you assume an average round trip of 10 miles to the nearest testing station (five ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Senseless Divide

If I could change one thing about the schools in Chattanooga, my wish would be that everybody could become good friends. I’m talking about the private schools versus the public schools. The rancor is so bad we hardly every play in sports anymore and what the loathsome TSSAA has done in recent years to the out-numbered private schools is sinful. My dream would be that there would ... (click for more)

Hixson's Courtney Jones Headed To Hiwassee

Courtney Jones is almost finished with one important segment of her life and she's not wasting any time getting on with the next part. Jones is currently a senior at Hixson High School, but she will graduate next week and heading to Madisonville where she will be playing volleyball at the college level for the Hiwassee Lady Tigers. Jones has been an integral part of Hixson's ... (click for more)

Walker Valley, Soddy Daisy Big Mat Winners

The Walker Valley Mustangs recorded pins in the first five matches and never looked back as they beat host Ooltewah in a prep wrestling match Thursday evening by a resounding 61-12 final. The match began at 120 pounds and James Jur put his team ahead with a first-period pin.  Cameron Dwyer, Ethan West, Dillon Clark and Zeth Haynie followed with pins and it never got any ... (click for more)