Harry Reid: Congress’s ObamaCare exemption is “what the law says,” sorry I’m not sorry
posted at 1:21 pm on September 13, 2013 by Erika Johnsen
ObamaCare’s popularity so far isn’t improving with age, and the special treatment that Congress requested for itself in continuing the federal government’s heavy subsidization of lawmakers’ and staffers’ health care plans through ObamaCare is faring even worse. While Congress seemed generally and very furtively pleased when the White House first announced their glibly unilateral plan to have the Office of Personnel Management issue a ruling that the government can continue to make contributions to their health plans, at least a handful of Republicans have since begun to seize on the idea to expose Democrats’ hypocritical ambitions to escape the “Affordable” Care Act that they claim to love so very much.
Putting Democrats on the defense about why the law creates perverse incentives that Congress gets to bypass, while the rest of America has no choice but to endure, has the potential to be both politically illuminating as well as immensely entertaining. For instance, via the Daily Caller:
Responding to the hoopla surrounding the health insurance policies on Capitol Hill, the Nevada Democrat flatly stated Thursday, “That’s what the law says, and we’ll be part of that.”
Reid said the Republicans and critics are just using the issue as a “diversion” to “try and embarrass the president.”
“Let’s stop these really juvenile political games,” Reid said. “The one dealing with healthcare for Senators and House members and our staff. We are going to be part of exchanges.” …
“We’ll be treated like the rest of the federal employees,” he said Thursday. “It’s nothing unique that employers help pay for health care. Ford Motor Company, Sears, doesn’t matter.”
“That’s what the law says.” …Yes, it is rather convenient that the White House can thusly placate Congress just by suddenly deciding to make changes and additions to the law through obfuscating and questionable legal channels whenever it likes, isn’t it?
Anyhow, Politico reported on Wednesday that even our esteemed members of Congress might have to deal with the administration’s frazzled rollout of the health care law. Their exemption might not quite be ready by the official start date, the poor dears:
The Office of Personnel Management may not issue final rules about how members of Congress and their staff can get insurance coverage through exchanges until after enrollment opens on Oct. 1, Chief Administrative Officer of the House Dan Strodel wrote in a memo to staff Wednesday. Without the final rule, Hill staff won’t be able to view their plan options, costs, benefits or final details on who must enter the exchange, he wrote.
“Members and staff are advised that although state and federal healthcare exchanges created under the ACA [Affordable Care Act] will open for enrollment on October 1, it will not be possible to confirm plan options, costs, benefits, or which House staff will be affected until OPM issues final regulations, which could very well be after the exchanges have already opened,” the memo says. ..
“However, please be assured that from the day the OPM final rule is issued until the open enrollment period closes, our benefits counselors will work tirelessly to ensure there is no gap in coverage for those no longer eligible to participate in FEHBP,” the memo continues.
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