NYT: ObamaCare may have accidentally stripped Congress of health coverage

posted at 9:47 pm on April 12, 2010 by Allahpundit

The perfect ending to a day that saw support for repealing O-Care reach a new high in Rasmussen (58 percent) and support for The One reach a new weekly low in Gallup (47 percent). Turns out that fantastically long, mind-bogglingly complex bills which no one has actually read may create unintended consequences. Remember how they forgot to require insurers to cover kids with preexisting conditions? Oh, and they forgot initially to let young adults be covered by their parents’ insurance until Reid fixed it in reconciliation. Now this. Who knew that when Pelosi said they’d have to pass the bill so that people could find out what’s in it, “people” meant Congress?

I’d call it comedy gold if not for the obvious point raised by the Times: “If they did not know exactly what they were doing to themselves, did lawmakers who wrote and passed the bill fully grasp the details of how it would influence the lives of other Americans?”

The law apparently bars members of Congress from the federal employees health program, on the assumption that lawmakers should join many of their constituents in getting coverage through new state-based markets known as insurance exchanges.

But the research service found that this provision was written in an imprecise, confusing way, so it is not clear when it takes effect.

The new exchanges do not have to be in operation until 2014. But because of a possible “drafting error,” the report says, Congress did not specify an effective date for the section excluding lawmakers from the existing program.

Under well-established canons of statutory interpretation, the report said, “a law takes effect on the date of its enactment” unless Congress clearly specifies otherwise. And Congress did not specify any other effective date for this part of the health care law. The law was enacted when President Obama signed it three weeks ago.

In other words, theoretically the law kicks them out of the federal health plan now in order to force them to join insurance exchanges … that don’t exist yet. Looking forward to tomorrow, when we’re inevitably told that they meant to do that. Exit question for lawyers: Who would have standing to sue to force the federal health plan to drop Congress now? Any citizen, or is it more refined than that?


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Actually, it seems to me that the entire law cannot go into effect until after the election, because the law changes the compensation of Congress members.

pedestrian on April 13, 2010 at 11:28 AM

Good Catch Ped! +100
so they would get the political fallout of writing themselves a special deal, and no benefit until after the next congress. Sweet!

JusDreamin on April 13, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Technically, this means that all congressmen who are retiring, or get voted out-of-office this year, will lose their retirement healthcare coverage…

phreshone on April 13, 2010 at 12:12 PM

Remember back in December when Nan said “Health Care is our gift to the American people?” SURPRISE!

Herb on April 13, 2010 at 8:53 AM

Bambi and his Zombie-ites in Congress, the gifts that just keeps giving.

What a bunch of idjits.

GrannyDee on April 13, 2010 at 12:13 PM

Obviously, when they flipped off the American people, they were pointing three fingers at themselves – lol

PJ Emeritus on April 13, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Shareholders of companies providing healthcare insurance to congress would have standing to at least demand SarbOx disclosure of the process whereby the company continued coverage in light of this law flaw, I’d think. Given the average age of people in congress these policies are probably money-losing, so the shareholders would see benefit from having them dropped, in compliance with the new law. If the insurance companies don’t make an agressive interpretation in that direction, perhaps it might fall afoul of bribery and corruption statutes; if they discuss it that’s RICO too, right? Also, shouldn’t providers be wary of potential recision of payments received under illegal coverage?

epsilon on April 13, 2010 at 12:22 PM

Congressman Says He Wishes He Read That One Part of the Health Care Bill That Denies Him Health Insurance: http://optoons.blogspot.com/2010/04/congressman-says-he-wishes-he-read-that.html

Mervis Winter on April 13, 2010 at 12:32 PM

Hm, and they can’t collect their COBRA benefits until they get fired by the citizens. Neat!

{^_^}

herself on April 13, 2010 at 12:34 PM

so they would get the political fallout of writing themselves a special deal, and no benefit until after the next congress. Sweet!

JusDreamin on April 13, 2010 at 12:09 PM

What I meant to say is that because of the 29th Amendment, the entire health care law just passed cannot go into effect until after the election.

pedestrian on April 13, 2010 at 12:47 PM

And these toads actually believe they’re smarter than everyone else, and know what’s best for everyone else? Now I’m really, Really, REALLY scared!!!!!

capejasmine on April 13, 2010 at 12:49 PM

Hoisted on their own petard!

Terrye on April 13, 2010 at 1:44 PM

The Obama disaster just keeps rolling along.
His “Redistribution of Wealth” program is working.

Cybergeezer on April 13, 2010 at 1:46 PM

As Rush said this morning, this is proof that God has a sense of humor.

ArkCon on April 13, 2010 at 5:06 PM

But they’re going to make sure this makes health care cheaper, more cost-effective, efficient, and better?

Yeah, right.

englishqueen01 on April 13, 2010 at 5:14 PM

NOW THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKIN’ ‘BOUT! Let THEM eat freakin’ cake!

CynicalOptimist on April 13, 2010 at 5:22 PM

I say it should begin IMMEDIATELY! Too bad Teddy K’s not around to enjoy his namesake…..

CynicalOptimist on April 13, 2010 at 5:32 PM

did lawmakers who wrote and passed the bill fully grasp the details of how it would influence the lives of other Americans?”

Who cares -the reality is they didn’t care how the details would influence the lives of other Americans.

Don L on April 13, 2010 at 6:17 PM

This is great. Maybe the Parliament of Whores should have read the Bill.

Jerricho68 on April 13, 2010 at 7:14 PM

I’m not sure how they could spin fixing this under reconciliation. It is not a budget consideration. And, if I’m remembering correctly, doesn’t it take a super-majority in the senate to amend or repeal obamacare?

Hazzard on April 13, 2010 at 7:27 PM

I flatly refuse to believe that anything in that bill was an accident.

disa on April 13, 2010 at 9:46 PM

This was no accident.

I wonder what price the Comrade Chairman will exact in order to restore their coverage?

Dave R. on April 13, 2010 at 11:25 PM

ROTFLMAO… congress hoisted literally on their own petards…

Instant Karma’s gonna get you, / Gonna knock you right on the head, / You better get yourself together, / Pretty soon you’re gonna be dead

doriangrey on April 14, 2010 at 6:53 AM

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