Senate GOP proposals would force Obama into health law exchanges

Republican amendments to the Senate's budget proposal would require President Obama and Vice President Biden to get their medical care through the new exchanges created by Obama's signature healthcare law.

Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) both offered amendments to move the president and vice president into the healthcare law's exchanges.

After the Affordable Care Act passed, the White House said Obama would enroll in an exchange once the time came in 2014. Collins and Ayotte's amendments would require the president, the vice president and the Cabinet to put their premiums where their politics are.

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Lawmakers and most of their staff members already have to purchase coverage through an exchange, thanks to a provision Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) added to the healthcare law.

But the White House and its staff aren't covered by that provision. Some congressional leadership staffers also aren't affected, and can remain in the healthcare exchange for federal employees.

All of the budget amendments are messaging documents — as is the budget itself. And there are a slew of proposals to repeal all or part of the Affordable Care Act.

Dozens of amendments have already been filed, including proposals to repeal the healthcare law and some key provisions, including the individual mandate and some of its taxes.


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An amendment from Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) would prohibit the use of federal money to advertise the law's new benefits, cutting off a publicity campaign that will be essential to making sure people actually enroll in the new benefits available to them.

Other GOP amendments would delay the law's implementation and change its definition of a "part-time" employee.

There's one bipartisan proposal in the mix — amendments to repeal the healthcare law's medical device tax.

Because budgets do not become law, none of these proposals would take effect even if the House and Senate were to agree on the underlying budget.