Liz Cheney pushes senator to return Obamacare subsidy

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Liz Cheney is pushing Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi to refuse any special Obamacare subsidy for his own health care.

Cheney, who recently announced a challenge to Enzi in next year’s Republican primary, made the call in response to the Obama administration’s announcement that it will allow members of Congress and their staff to be exempted from certain provisions of Obamacare.

“Yesterday, my opponent issued a statement claiming that he opposed this kind of special treatment,” Cheney said in remarks distributed by her campaign. “Senator Enzi should walk the walk on this one. If he is opposed to this special deal, he should agree to return his taxpayer-funded ObamaCare subsidy money to the U.S. Treasury, and he should lead in convincing his senate colleagues to do so, too.”

Under pressure from Congress, the Office of Personnel Management announced last week that it will provide a subsidy of about 75 percent of the cost for the health care of members and staff.

Other Republicans in Congress say they will battle the new exemption.

Republican West Virginia Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, who is also running for the Senate in 2014, says she will not accept any health care subsidy made available to her that average Americans can’t receive.

She plans to introduce legislation in the House called the No ObamaCare Subsidies for Congress Act of 2013 to “end this special treatment for Members of Congress.” The bill would affect lawmakers, and not staff.

“As long as ObamaCare remains law, Members of Congress should not receive exchange subsidies that are not provided to other Americans,” said Capito.

The Obamacare fix for lawmakers and staff was made because the Affordable Care Act includes an amendment from a Republican senator that changes how the government currently covers most of the cost of health-care premiums for members and their staffers.

The new law mandates that members and staff must enter into exchanges or be covered by insurance “created” by law.

Lawmakers wanted the fix because they are worried about a potential “brain drain” — Capitol Hill staffers leaving work because of the increased costs of health care.

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