Should Elected Officials Be Exempt from the Affordable Care Act?

January 13, 2014

Republican Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin, Republican Assemblyman Brian Nestande of California, Congressmen Ron DeSantis of Florida and Mat Salmon of Arizona are on the same page with regard to exemptions from Obamacare for elected officials in Congress and in the California State Legislature.

Senator Ron Johnson filed a law suit in Wisconsin to make Congress live by the same health care law that it imposed on the rest of America. When campaigning to pass the Affordable Health Care Law, the President and Congress promised that they would live by the same health care laws as everyone else.  Absurdly Nancy Pelosi urged passage so they could find out what was in the law. It passed with no Republican votes. When Congress found out what was in the law, the President exempted them from it. 

The Affordable Health Care Law states that the only health care plans in which members of Congress and their staffs can participate must be created under Obamacare. It states that the only subsidy available to Congress is the same available to all Americans.

Congressmen Ron DeSantis of Florida and Matt Salmon of Arizona introduced House Joint Resolution 55, proposing an amendment to the Constitution stating that "Congress shall make no law respecting the citizens of the United States that does not also apply to the Senators and Representatives." That bill died in subcommittee committeelast year.  

When Congress learned about the harsh realities of the Affordable Health Care law, the President issued a convoluted ruling exempting Congress and the Federal Government from it. He declared the federal government is a small business, and can buy insurance for its employees. Senator Johnson’s law suit maintains that the president exceeded his legal authority to change existing law.  Only Congress can change existing law, by enacting legislation. Law cannot be changed by presidential decree, and unlawful executive overreach. 

Under the Affordable Care Act, each state has the choice of having health care administrated by the Federal Government Health Care plan, or to implement a state run health insurance exchange which falls under the Affordable Care Act.   California is one of less than twenty states that decided to implement a state run plan.   Covered California is the name of California’s health insurance market place.  Open enrollment ends March 31, 2014. 

Assemblyman Brian Nestande introduced Assembly Bill 1246, which places all California Legislators in the Health Benefits California Exchange under the Affordable Care Act. The Nestande bill starts in committee next week.   Brian said “Whenever possible it is appropriate that Legislators abide by, and live within, the same laws that are passed for all Californians. This law attempts to do that. There is no better way than to have elected officials share in the same benefits program as the people who elected us.” 

Let us hope that Nestande’s bill has more success in Sacramento than similar bills in Washington D.C. Bills seeking to overturn the federal exemption decreed by President Obama, have been passed in the House of Representatives, and then offered in the Senate. Bills must pass in both the House and in the Senate before going to the President.  Senate bills have been blocked by Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid.  Should the Senate pass such a bill, President Obama promises a veto.

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The internationally published writer is a former English teacher, stockbroker, and owner/president of a small corporation.  She is active with Republican Women Federated, The Coachella Valley Lincoln Club, The California Republican Party, and Armed Services YMCA- 29 Palms Marine Base.  She can be reached at