Judicial Watch requested the Trump administration stop members of Congress and their staff from unlawfully purchasing, with taxpayer subsidies, health insurance through the District of Columbia’s small business exchange. The Judicial Watch request was made on June 14, 2017, to the Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services (CMS) as part of a process set out by the Department of Health and Human Services to reform the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare.
Judicial Watch wrote:
The ACA requires states to create at least two exchanges: a small business exchange (referred to as “SHOP” in the ACA) and an individual exchange. It also requires certain members of Congress and congressional employees to purchase insurance on an exchange created either by their state of residence (or by the District, if they are a D.C. resident) or by the federal government, if their state of residence did not establish an exchange. 42 U.S.C. § 18032(d)(3)(D)(i). Because the ACA limits the purchase of insurance on a small business exchange to employees of small businesses – and Congress is not a small business – the ACA unequivocally requires that certain members of Congress and congressional employees purchase insurance on an individual exchange created either by their state of residence (or by the District, if they are a D.C. resident) or by the federal government for that state.http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-asks-trump-administration-end-congressional-obamacare-exemption/
Nonetheless, OPM promulgated 5 C.F.R. § 890.102(c)(9), which purportedly authorized congressional employees to purchase health insurance offered by an appropriate small business exchange, and the OPM Director subsequently issued guidance stating, “OPM has determined that the DC SHOP . . . is the appropriate SHOP from which Members of Congress and designated congressional staff will purchase health insurance in order to receive a Government contribution.” Federal Employees Health Benefits Program: Members of Congress and Congressional Staff, 78 Fed. Reg. 60653, 60654 (Oct. 2, 2013).