Alexander Calls On Administration To Rescind Rule Giving Unions Carveout from Obamacare

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Senators say they will consider options such as the Congressional Review Act to prevent the rule from taking effect
 
WASHINGTON, March 13 – Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), John Thune (R-S.D.) and 22 of their Republican colleagues today called on the Obama administration to immediately rescind its rule creating an unwarranted special carveout for some unions from Obamacare fees.
 
In a letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Burwell, the senators write: “We write to express deep disappointment that your agency has approved a final rule creating an unwarranted special carveout benefitting certain unions over other Americans.
We demand that the rule be immediately rescinded or we will consider using options such as the Congressional Review Act (“CRA”) to stop the rule from going into effect.”
 
The administration released a rule on March 5 exempting some self-insured health plans, such as those commonly run by unions, from Obamacare’s reinsurance fee in 2015 and 2016. The three-year, $25 billion reinsurance fee is meant to stabilize the individual market if too many sick customers sign up for insurance between 2014 and 2016. Prior to last week’s final rule, the fee applied equally to everyone with a private health insurance plan or a health plan administered by a private insurer. Those who did not receive a special carveout will now likely have to pay a bigger share of the fee.
 
The senators led 18 of their colleagues in sending letters on September 18 and on November 13 asking that the administration not authorize the release of any regulation that would create a special exemption from Obamacare for labor unions.
 
In today’s letter, they write:  “Those letters not only went unanswered, they were blatantly ignored. The American people deserve answers when their own government proposes to undermine their right to equal treatment under law. Carving out some unions from a multi-billion dollar reinsurance fee, the cost of which will ultimately be borne by every other American with private health insurance, is unacceptable.”
 
“Obamacare is not working. This regulation is the most recent in a long line of confusing delays, exemptions, and politically motivated crony rewards. Obamacare should be repealed and replaced with step-by-step, patient-centered reforms that drive down costs and that Americans actually want. We reiterate what we communicated to you in September: We stand willing to work with anyone who will help enact common-sense laws that could actually lower premiums and insure more people.”
 
The letter was signed by Alexander, Thune, Hatch, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), David Vitter (R-La.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
 
The full text of the letter is below:
 
March 13, 2014
 
 
Mrs. Sylvia Mathews Burwell
Director
Office of Management and Budget
301 G Street, Southwest
Washington, DC  20024
 
            RE: Final Rule No. RIN 0938-AR89
 
Dear Director Burwell:
 
We write to express deep disappointment that your agency has approved a final rule creating an unwarranted special carveout benefitting certain unions over other Americans. We demand that the rule be immediately rescinded or we will consider using options such as the Congressional Review Act (“CRA”) to stop the rule from going into effect.  The CRA is an important backstop against executive branch excess and overreach. It is regulations such as this one that demonstrate why a Republican-led Congress enacted this law in 1996.
 
On September 18 and November 13, 2013, 21 U.S. Senators wrote to ask that you not authorize the release of any regulation that would create any special exemptions from Obamacare for labor unions who are now unhappy with a law they once supported. Those letters not only went unanswered, they were blatantly ignored. The American people deserve answers when their own government proposes to undermine their right to equal treatment under law. Carving out some unions from a multi-billion dollar reinsurance fee, the cost of which will ultimately be borne by every other American with private health insurance, is unacceptable.
 
Obamacare is not working. This regulation is the most recent in a long line of confusing delays, exemptions, and politically motivated crony rewards. Obamacare should be repealed and replaced with step-by-step, patient-centered reforms that drive down costs and that Americans actually want. We reiterate what we communicated to you in September: We stand willing to work with anyone who will help enact common-sense laws that could actually lower premiums and insure more people.

UTC Stophel Scholars Honored By Local Law Firm

Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, P.C. honored the 2015-2016 John C. Stophel Distinguished Students from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga during the firm’s annual Stophel Scholars reception on Thursday, Feb. 11. The reception at the Chambliss Conference Center in Liberty Tower offered the 10 award recipients, including one graduate and nine undergraduate students, the opportunity ... (click for more)

World's Largest One-Day Simulcast Leadership Conference Returns To Cleveland

Leadercast, the world’s largest one-day leadership conference, will be broadcast live from Atlanta and simulcast to hundreds of locations around the world on May 6. This year marks the 16th year of the annual leadership conference and the fourth year that the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce and People for Care and Learning will host the event at First Baptist Church.   ... (click for more)

Firefighters Stop Fire At Local IHOP Restaurant

Chattanooga firefighters did not have far to go when fire broke out at the IHOP on Highway 153 in Hixson around  9 a.m.  on Friday. Battalion Chief Don Bowman and firefighters with Quint 16 had just enjoyed a nice breakfast there while having a morning staff meeting. When the firefighters returned to their fire truck and were getting ready to drive off, one of the firefighters ... (click for more)

City Councilman Chris Anderson Gearing Up For Election A Year Away

City Councilman Chris Anderson is already gearing up for the next city election, though it is over a year away. In the financial disclosures due Feb. 1, he reported receiving $24,165 for the reporting period from July 16, 2015 to Jan. 16, 2016. He spent $4,887 during that period. Councilman Yusuf Hakeem took in $11,110 during the period. Councilman Russell Gilbert reported ... (click for more)

Innocent Until Proven Guilty, Even Athletes

From reading Randy Smith's column on the lawsuit against UT it is pretty evident that he never took a legal course in his life. I was under the impression that in this country one was innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. It appears this no longer applies to athletes(particularly black athletes) in the U.S. in 2016. I have always said that if I am picked for jury duty ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Chatt2.org’ Needs You Now

A diverse yet powerful panel of community leaders in Nashville delivered a letter to the Metro Nashville Board of Education last week. It was signed by some top men and women who represent a wide-ranking cross section of Tennessee’s largest city and includes education, business, religious and diversity superstars. You need to understand the urgency behind the letter. Davidson County ... (click for more)