Last week, Sen. Tim Kaine and one of us, Jon Decker, had an enlightening back-and-forth in the Roanoke Times after the former Democratic vice presidential nominee claimed he was on Obamacare just like the rest of the American people—even though he enjoys a taxpayer-funded “employer contribution” of about $12,000 per year and is on the District of Columbia small business exchange even though his employer, the U.S. Senate, has thousands of employees.
You can read the original op-ed here and Kaine’s response here. Kaine attempted to deny the obvious truth that he is enjoying a sweetheart deal by linking to an article on the website PolitiFact, the self-described fact-checking unit of the liberal Tampa Bay Times. That article bends over backwards to excuse Congress’s special arrangement, noting that Congress is on an Obamacare exchange.
But not once does PolitiFact or Kaine note which Obamacare exchange Kaine and his colleagues are on, or attempt to explain why. As we have previously explained in detail, there was no legal way for Congress to comply with Obamacare’s requirement that they get their health insurance through an Obamacare exchange without paying their own premiums. Internal Revenue Service rules prohibit employer contributions for individual coverage, and there is no Obamacare exchange for large employers.
Congress could have changed the law to restore their employer coverage, but voters would have been outraged. So they talked President Obama into issuing a rule that would allow them to receive an illicit employer contribution through the small business exchange. This is the false document the Senate filed:
While one could presume Kaine is intentionally deceiving the public to cover up the sweet deal that forces taxpayers to pay his premiums, we can’t rule out the possibility that he is genuinely, jaw-droppingly ignorant of how employer-sponsored health insurance works in this country.
In his response, Kaine made this baffling, false claim: “Just like those 62 percent of Virginians and 151 million Americans, Congressional staff and Members of Congress receive coverage through the employer-sponsored insurance system on the exchange.”
According to the most recent official data, there are 2,044 covered lives in the Virginia small business exchange, the only Obamacare exchange that allows employer-sponsored coverage. That’s about 0.02 percent of the state population, not 62 percent. Nationally, there are 232,698 people who “receive coverage through the employer-sponsored insurance system on the exchange,” more than a little short of Kaine’s claim of 151 million. Approximately zero of them, other than Congress and its staff, work for large employers.
It is startling that a former vice presidential nominee could actually believe that employer coverage is typically received through the exchange.
Three days after Kaine made this astonishing blunder and was roundly mocked for it on Twitter, the Roanoke Times edited it away for him without note or comment.
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) September 25, 2017
No wonder Kaine is so adamantly opposed to providing relief from Obamacare’s spiraling premiums. He doesn’t have to pay them himself, neither does his staff, and he apparently lacks the most basic understanding of how the rest of us are suffering from soaring premiums and dwindling health-care options.
Thanks in part to President Trump’s tweets on the subject, it is no longer a secret that Congress receives a bailout from Obamacare via a corrupt scheme to masquerade as a small business. If Congress is unsuccessful in repealing Obamacare before September 30, let’s hope President Trump will end Congress’s Obamacare bailout and finally force politicians like Kaine to learn firsthand what it’s like to pay for Obamacare without subsidies.