Congress is free of a liability imposed on others

Read the Sept. 28 letter taking The Maui News to task for the Sept. 24 editorial saying that the Congress has exempted itself from Obamacare’s provisions.

Although the letter was partly correct, let’s dig a little deeper in the interest of clarity.

In 1995, a Republican Congress passed the Congressional Accountability Act, to fulfill a promise made the previous year in the Contract with America. The act applied to Congress the same civil-rights employment and labor laws that lawmakers had required everyday citizens to abide by. Fast forward to 2009 when Republican Sen. David Vitter proposed an amendment to add those principles to Obamacare; the Democrats thinking it a ploy joined in the amendment.

To really understand all of this, you need to know the following: The exchanges in Obamacare were intended for uninsured people who couldn’t get health insurance through their employer or qualify for Medicaid. Those who had access to health benefits meeting minimum coverage levels could still purchase insurance on the exchanges – but without a subsidy and using after-tax income.

Congress cried foul when members discovered they would have to pay their own premiums just like the other 30 million-plus people forced into the insurance exchanges. Pressured, the Obama administration issued a rule exempting Congress from the law, thereby granting members subsidized premiums.

You decide, definition of exempt: Free from an obligation or liability imposed on others.

Bill Botts