Senators Urge Administration to Hold-off on Union Exemption

Argue other similarly situated organizations should be treated same


Republican senators sent a letter on Wednesday urging the administration not to go ahead with a regulation that would exempt unions from an Obamacare fee that applies to employers, charities, and faith-based organizations.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a regulation that exempts union health plans from the reinsurance fee that comes along with Obamacare on Oct. 30.

Senior members of committees with key oversight roles concerning the health care system, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R. Tenn.), Sen. Orin Hatch (R., Utah), and Sen. John Thune (R. S.D.), along with eighteen other Republican senators wrote that the regulation makes no justification for why union members should receive special treatment.

“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.”