Norton Blasts Rothfus for Launching Third Republican Attack on D.C.’s Individual Health Insurance Mandate
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today blasted Representative Keith Rothfus (R-PA) for filing an anti-home-rule rider to the fiscal year 2019 District of Columbia Appropriations bill to prohibit D.C. from using its local funds to collect taxes as part of enforcing the Health Insurance Requirement Amendment Act of 2018 (HIRA), which requires D.C. residents to maintain health insurance coverage, and failure to do so results in a tax liability. Three states (Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont) have passed individual mandate laws similar to the District’s. The Rothfus amendment would prohibit D.C. from spending its local funds to carry out one method of collecting the tax liability. In particular, the amendment would prohibit the city from seizing property of a resident to collect the liability. Norton noted this marks the third Republican attack on D.C.’s individual mandate bill. Representatives Gary Palmer (R-AL) and Mark Meadows (R-NC) yesterday filed amendments to prohibit D.C. from using its local funds to carry out HIRA. Meadows later withdrew his amendment and cosponsored Palmer’s amendment, along with Representative Mark Walker (R-NC). The amendments were filed at the House Rules Committee, which is expected to consider the fiscal year 2019 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, which contains D.C.’s appropriations bill, next week.
“Republicans like Representative Rothfus start ignoring their own constituents and get an anti-democratic fever during the D.C. appropriations process,” Norton said. “They have not taken the cure, even though we have beaten them every year. This year, they have not learned their lesson from the continuing popularity of the Affordable Care Act, and Representative Rothfus is trying to reach into local law by trying to strip affordable health care from D.C. residents, going after our local individual health insurance mandate, which aims to ensure all our residents have health insurance. This highly offensive attack is a gross violation of the American principle of self-government. I will be testifying against this anti-democratic rider, and I am confident we will be able to defeat it and protect D.C.’s local health care policies.”