Blog archive

Rand Paul wants to move feds into Obamacare

Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul wants a constitutional amendment to apply Obamacare to everyone, including federal employees and Supreme Court justices.

Federal employees found out that their health insurance premiums were going up an average of 3.4 percent for fiscal year 2014. That may seem like bad news, but if one lawmaker has his way, annual single-digit premium increases under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan might be fondly remembered as the good old days.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announced plans to propose a constitutional amendment that would, among other things, require federal employees to purchase health insurance on exchanges created by the 2010 health care law. Details of the proposal were not available, but it appears that it would eliminate a raft of benefits enjoyed by feds, including the subsidy that helps pay about 72 percent of federal employees' insurance premiums.

Paul singled out for special mention Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who wrote the 2012 opinion in NFIB v. Sebelius that upheld the law.

"My amendment says basically that everybody, including Justice Roberts -- who seems to be such a fan of Obamacare -- gets it too," Paul told the Daily Caller, a conservative news website. "See, right now, Justice Roberts is still continuing to have federal employee health insurance subsidized by the taxpayer. And if he likes Obamacare so much, I'm going to give him an amendment that gives Obamacare to Justice Roberts."

Paul's proposal comes more than a month after the Office of Personnel Management announced that members of Congress and their staffs, who are required to buy health insurances via exchanges under a provision of the law, will obtain premium support from their employers -- the government. Private employers are specifically barred by the law from providing any such subsidy. The OPM provided the special exemption after fears that the elimination of premium support would create a wave of resignations among congressional staffers.

A constitutional amendment would have to gain the support of two-thirds majorities in the House and the Senate, then be ratified by three-fourths of the states, so the chances of Paul's amendment being ratified are fairly close to zero. But legislative proposals to end the OPM-approved subsidy for lawmakers and staff could become part of the debate over fiscal 2014 appropriations as the clock ticks down on fiscal 2013.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Sep 25, 2013 at 11:06 AM

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Mon, Nov 4, 2013

I have no problem with a properly drafted general amendment that bars special waivers to laws for government workers, government contractors, not-for-profit entities, or receipents of federal, state or local public funds. It should also hopefully bar the raft of special interest waivers such as to unions and political organizations and influence groups. This same amendment could force sunset rules of say 24 months on any special incentive provision built into federal laws to stop the gravy train out to politicos and lobbyist groups from every niche and cranny of our corporate and domestic society.

Thu, Sep 26, 2013

My health care insurance through my employer will go up next year by 28 percent. A single digit increase in my cost would be something to cheer about indeed.

Thu, Sep 26, 2013 DC Fed Washington DC

Proposing a constitutional amendment is obviously grand standing on the part of Sen. Paul. I am federal employee and the prospect of being forced into an ACA exchange scares the hell out of me. However, it makes perfect sense, insofar as anything about ACA makes sense, that ALL federal employees for the executive, judicial and legislative branches should be rolled into ACA coverage. Mandating a program for the entire population of the U.S. and then cherry picking favored segments of the population through make-em-up-as-you-go exemptions is hypocritical and unfair. It undermines respect for the law and for public service. If the ACA is not good enough for us, it sure as hell isnt good enough for the people we serve.

Thu, Sep 26, 2013

GO to Hell Rand Paul

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group