A lawsuit has been filed in Washington demanding a taxpayer-funded Obamacare health exchange dump members of Congress, their staffers and their spouses and dependents out of the program.
The action was brought yesterday by Judicial Watch, a government watchdog group, because the subsidized District of Columbia Health Benefit Exchange Authority is designated for small businesses with 50 employees or fewer.
The action explains Congress employs thousands, and government officials got around the restriction by simply lying on the applications for coverage through the program.
It cites the applications filed by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate with the exchange.
Copies of the applications were obtained by Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act procedure, and they show “the House and Senate claimed to have only 45 employees each. They also show that the House and Senate attested to having ’50 or fewer fulltime equivalent employees.’”
But Judicial Watch reports “Congress employs upwards of 20,000 people.”
“The applications also falsely state that the House and Senate are ‘local/state governments,’” Judicial Watch said.
The action was filed on behalf of taxpayer Kirby Vining and names as defendants the exchange and its director, Mila Kofman.
It was in March 2012 that, as part of Obamacare, the District of Columbia approved the operations of “The Health Benefit Exchange Authority.” The exchange was given more than $77 million in taxpayer money during 2013 and 2014.
Judicial Watch charges that:
- “Since November 2013, the Exchange Authority has allowed the U.S. House of Representatives (‘the House’) and the U.S. Senate (‘the Senate’) (collectively ‘Congress’) to use the Small Business Exchange to provide health insurance to members of Congress, certain congressional staffers, and their spouses and dependents.”
- “Beginning in early November 2013, the Exchange Authority conducted outreach efforts to the House and Senate about Congress’ participation in the Small Business Exchange and provided weekly support sessions to assist members of Congress and staff with enrollment. These outreach efforts, weekly support sessions, and Congress’ participation in the exchange generally were discussed at a November 13, 2013, meeting of the executive board, and on November 20, 2013, Executive Director Kofman testified … before the Senate’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee about Congress’ participation in the Small Business Exchange.”
- “When Congress applied to participate in the Small Business Exchange, representatives falsely asserted that the House and the Senate each employ 50 or fewer full-time employees. Specifically, records provided by the Exchange Authority in response to a Freedom of Information Act request show that both the House and the Senate falsely claimed that they each employ only 45 full-time employees.”
- “On information and belief, the Executive Board and Executive Director Kofman knew that the House and the Senate each have more than 50 full-time employees and knew or should have known that Congress’ certifications to the contrary were false.”
- “At least 12,359 members of Congress, congressional staffers, and their spouses and dependents obtained health insurance through the Small Business Exchange as of February 9, 2014. These 12,359 persons represent approximately 86 percent of the 14,289 persons enrolled in the Small Business Exchange between October 1, 2013 and September 9, 2014.”
Judicial Watch is seeking a court ruling that declares participation by Congress in the Small Business Exchange to be illegal and for a “writ of mandamus ordering Defendant Kofman to deny the House and Senate further participation in the Small Business Exchange.”
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton explained:
“The documents we obtained from the D.C. Health Exchange show that every member of Congress who has enrolled in Obamacare has obtained their insurance coverage (and any taxpayer subsidies) through fraud. The District of Columbia government should not be a party to this fraud and should stop allowing Congress to participate in an exchange created for small D.C. businesses.”
He continued, “District taxpayers will be surprised and outraged to learn that local tax dollars are helping further this fraud. Mr. Vining wants the courts to stop this lawlessness as soon as possible.”
The dispute famously went to the U.S. Supreme Court two years ago, when the justices said Obamacare is a tax and was legal. However, there still remain several other challenges, including questions over its mandates that requires Christians to violate their faith and subsidize abortion.
Also, the full District of Columbia appeals court is being asked to rule on a case against Obamacare after a three-judge panel decided the U.S. Senate can initiate a tax law, even though the U.S. Constitution’s requires that all such measures originate in the U.S. House.
WND reported two months ago when Judge Judith Rogers reasoned for the three-judge panel that if the aim of Obamacare is to force people to buy government-approved health insurance, the hundreds of billions of dollars in tax increases are incidental and allowable.
The case targets the individual mandate payments, which already were declared by the U.S. Supreme Court to be a “tax.” It argues the legislation creating the payments started in the Senate, not the House, as required by Article 1, Section 7, of the Constitution.
“Because the issues in this case are so important for all Americans, PLF has a responsibility to seek review by the full D.C. Circuit, and, ultimately, by the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary,” said PLF Principal Attorney Paul J. Beard II. “Not only is everyone affected by Obamacare and its tax and regulatory burden, but we all have a stake in the integrity of the Constitution and its procedural protections for taxpayers.”
He continued: “The Founders had good reason for vesting the power to launch taxes with the House. They knew the power to tax can be abused, and they wanted to limit that danger by giving the primary authority to the chamber closest to the people. Unfortunately, the three-judge panel that ruled against PLF’s Obamacare challenge has undermined that protection for the public by announcing a disturbing new exception to it.”
The court panel said if the “main object” of a tax is something other than raising revenue, that part of the Constitution doesn’t apply.
Beard said the “loophole” allows all sorts of taxes that “could be given a pass from having to start in the House.”
“After all, many taxes have purposes other than simply to raise revenue. Cigarette taxes, for example, are designed, also, to affect behavior.”
The argument essentially makes the Constitution itself a silver bullet to kill Obamacare.
In a video about the case, PLF attorney Todd Gaziano said the Senate violated the Constitution in its work on Obamacare, and so the law should be abandoned.
Conservative commentator George Will wrote about the case under the headline “Obamacare’s doom”:
In June 2012, a Supreme Court majority accepted a, shall we say, creative reading of the ACA by Chief Justice John Roberts. The court held that the penalty, which the ACA repeatedly calls a penalty, is really just a tax on the activity – actually, the nonactivity – of not purchasing insurance. The individual mandate is not, the court held, a command but merely the definition of a condition that can be taxed. The tax is mild enough to be semi-voluntary; individuals are free to choose whether or not to commit the inactivity that triggers the tax.
The “exaction” – Roberts’s word – “looks,” he laconically said, “like a tax in many respects.” It is collected by the IRS, and the proceeds go to the Treasury for the general operations of the federal government, not to fund a particular program. This surely makes the ACA a revenue measure.
Did it, however, originate in the House? Of course not.
Will argued that the Senate has every right to amend a House bill, but regarding whether a change actually is an “amendment,” the case law establishes that the issue must be “germane to the subject matter of the [House] bill.”
Earlier, dozens of members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed on to the case, claiming the Senate didn’t have the authority to pass the bill.
They argued taxes only can originate with the House, the representatives closest to the American people.
The requirement is so important, according to the members of Congress, that the Constitution never would have been adopted without it.
The newly filed brief explains: “The panel decision all but concedes that its new test – and the broad exemption from Origination Clause review it creates for many revenue-raising bills – has never been endorsed by the Supreme Court. The panel’s view seems to be that, until the Supreme Court expressly instructs otherwise, courts can continue to presume against applying the Origination Clause – even to revenue-raising taxes like the shared responsibility payment.”
NORM ‘n’ AL Note: Is there no end to the fraud, deceit, lies, and other problems which this monstrosity of a healthcare program will generate? (Rhetorical question there.) Obamacare signed up over TWELVE THOUSAND members of Congress, their staffers, spouses, and dependents, and relied on fraud in order to do it? And this happened presumably because Obamacare could not find twelve thousand ordinary Washington DC citizens who wanted to enroll in the program? The Obama administration has absolutely no shame. Also no honor, no integrity, and no sense of doing what is right.
[by Bob Unruh, writing for WND.COM]