GOP bill stops union exemptions from ObamaCare

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) urged President Obama Tuesday not to exempt unions from ObamaCare taxes. 

He and 10 other Senate Republicans introduced the Union Tax Fairness Act, S. 1724, which would prevent the administration from exempting union healthcare plans from the ObamaCare reinsurance tax.

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“Unions should not be granted a special exemption from ObamaCare’s reinsurance tax just because the president fears further union backlash on his signature law,” Thune said. “Rather than granting special backroom deals to political allies, the administration should support fairness for all by permanently delaying the law for every American.”

Republicans have called for a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act — also known as ObamaCare — but Thune said the president could at least agree to delay implementation of the law to ensure fairness.

The ObamaCare reinsurance tax is scheduled to begin in 2014 and requires all self-insured plans to pay a tax for each person covered under a health plan. This is aimed at incentivizing people and businesses to go onto the healthcare exchange instead of buying a self-insured plan.

Thune’s bill would prevent Obama from exempting union from the reinsurance tax. He said unions, who originally supported the law, are now asking the administration for special exemptions because they don’t want members to pay for benefits that go to non-union workers as well.

GOP Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), James Inhofe (Okla.), David Vitter (La.), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), John Barrasso (Wyo.), Tim Scott (S.C.), Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), and Tom Coburn (Okla.) are cosponsoring Thune’s bill.

The senators said they introduced the bill because of media reports that Obama was considering an executive order to exempt unions from the tax.

“The White House doesn’t have the authority to change the law on its own and, as this bill makes clear, any attempt at a Big Labor carve out from ObamaCare must be approved by Congress,” Hatch said.