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 If the law will unfairly hurt certain groups, it should be repealed or amended through Congress.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: ALLGOOD, PHILLIP RICHARD  2603 BELLE ARBOR CHATTANOOGA, 37406  Age at Arrest: 53 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County VIOLATION OF ORDER OF PROTECTION OR RESTRAINING OR --- AUSTIN, VANCE LEE  6974 BOSTON LANE HIXSON, 37343  Age at Arrest: 71 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Michael Ford Sentenced To More Than 13 Years In Prison On Drug Charges

Michael Shawn Ford has been sentenced to 13 and a half years in prison on drug charges. On April 20, 2105, Ford was arrested at his house in East Ridge. Police found him hiding in the closet with a laundry bag which contained a loaded pistol and 7.9 grams of crystal meth. Officers said that two backpacks were found in the same bedroom, one with 257.3 grams of crystal meth ... (click for more)

Olympic Events On The Ocoee River Made History – But It Wasn’t Easy

It started with a simple “what if” question while Atlanta officials were working on a bid to host the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.  A group of amateur kayakers from the city began asking themselves: “What if Atlanta’s bid is successful? Then where would the Olympic whitewater canoe and kayak races be held?”  To some of the members of that group, the answer was obvious. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Don’t Kick A Man’s Neck

From the minute my brothers and I each became cognizant, my dad started teaching us the rules of becoming a man. Dad was from deep in Mississippi and he’d been taught a lot of life’s secrets from his father. These lessons have been passed for generations and, the older I have become, I’m convinced a lot of them were borne from The Sermon on the Mount. Our favorite, back in the ... (click for more)

Lookouts Get Walk-Off Win Over Smokies Thursday, 4-3

With the score tied at three with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Lookouts outfielder Zack Granite singled home Edgar Corcino to give the team with 4-3 walk-off win over the Smokies.   Tied going into the bottom of the ninth inning, Corcino led off with his second hit of the game. He advanced to second base on a bunt. A Levi Michael single pushed Corcino to third ... (click for more)

Chattanooga FC Hosts NPSL National Semifinal Saturday

All eyes are on Saturday as Chattanooga FC prepares for the NPSL National Championship Semifinal match against Sonoma County Sol at Finley Stadium. In efforts to FILL "FORT" Finley, CFC has extended their discount on $7 tickets until Thursday at 2:00. After 2:00, tickets will be $10 until 6:00 on Saturday, when the price will rise to $12. Tickets are available online at ChattanoogaFC.com.  ... (click for more)