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 If the law will unfairly hurt certain groups, it should be repealed or amended through Congress.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.).



Graysville, Tn., Man Charged With Making Graphic Photos Of Several Rhea Children

A 44-year-old Graysville, Tn., man has been charged with especially aggravated exploitation of a minor. Authorities said Bradley Shane Rose took graphic photos of several Rhea County children and sent them to a registered sex offender in California. Rhea County authorities were tipped off by California law enforcement. Rose was taken into custody at the Walmart in Dayton. ... (click for more)

Corker Cosponsors Alexander-Murray Legislation To Stabilize Individual Health Insurance Market

Senator Bob Corker on Wednesday cosponsored bipartisan legislation to stabilize the individual health insurance market and begin to lower the cost of premiums. The bill was authored by Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray.   “Congress has a responsibility to ensure that families in Tennessee ... (click for more)

Trump - And Response

Hardly a day, even a moment, goes by when some news flash appears sharing what  Trump  said or did. Not catchy and cute as we might feel when we see the baby turn over for the first time or say Da, da. Instead, this grown man and our president defies child cooing and smiling and instead frowns amid growing anger that we voted for this man, a grown up not quite potty-trained.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: New Schools On Agenda

Hamilton County School Superintendent Bryan Johnson confirmed on Wednesday that a plan for several new public schools will be included on Thursday night’s School Board agenda. Hamilton County has fallen woefully behind other metro school districts in the state and, with an estimated $340 million in deferred repairs, upgrading facilities - that now average over 40 years old - was ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Traveling Familiar Path Through Loser's Bracket

(Story will be updated) MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – It’s not like Signal Mountain hasn’t been down the pothole-filled road before. Despite the obstacles created by losing early in the TSSAA state volleyball tournaments, the Lady Eagles have proven to be cautious, but relentless drivers on a path back to title contention twice before. They’re on the same course this October. ... (click for more)

Baylor Advances To State Final; Sale Creek Ousted

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The Baylor Lady Red Raiders are one win away from another D-II Class AA state volleyball championship. Facing the Brentwood Academy Lady Eagles for the third time this season here at Blackman High School Wednesday morning in the winner’s bracket final, Baylor was able to advance by winning in four sets, but it was a battle for the ages where two really good ... (click for more)