Hoyer: ObamaCare will “grow in acceptance” with Capitol Hill staffers over time
posted at 9:01 pm on January 14, 2014 by Erika Johnsen
There has been plenty of angst on Capitol Hill over the past year about the highly deliberate amendment Republicans added to ObamaCare in 2010 whereby both Congressional members and their staffers must be covered by health insurance plans offered through ObamaCare’s exchanges — the punchline being that, if Congress was going to foist this legislative monstrosity on the American people, they better learn to live with it, too. Previously, Hill staffers have had a generous chunk of their premiums subsidized by the federal government, but the coming advent of what would assuredly by higher premiums for their aides had Democrats up in arms over the possibility of a Capitol-Hill brain-drain.
A perfectly justifiable fear, you might say. The Hill reports:
The vast majority of Capitol Hill staffers are worried about changes, costs and access to their healthcare plans under ObamaCare, and the worry could provoke an exodus of talent, a new survey found.
The Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) interviewed 163 Capitol Hill staffers in November and December, and found 91 percent said they were worried about possible changes to their healthcare benefits under the Affordable Care Act.
In addition, 87 percent said they were worried about the cost of their new health insurance, and 82 percent said they had concerns about access to local healthcare providers. …
Thirty-eight percent of congressional staffers said they planned to look for a new job in the next year. Of those, 79 percent cited changes to healthcare benefits as one of the primary drivers of their unhappiness.
Thanks to President Obama swooping in to save the day for Democrats, the law now allows the federal government to continue to offer employer subsidies, although but Republican Sen. Ron Johnson is suing the Obama administration to end the practice and a few House Republicans have proposed legislation to end what they say is undue financial assistance — much to Democrats’ chagrin. The question for Democrats, however, isn’t why Republicans should lay off trying to pass legislation that would force Capitol Hill to fully comply with ObamaCare’s financially punishing dictates. The question is why they passed legislation that applied those financially punishing dictates of all Americans in the first place.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer is convinced that things will calm down on the Hill, and maybe they will; the above survey was conducted during the both the height of the rollout fiasco and when offices were still trying to iron out their own logistics. As anyone who has been paying attention well knows, however, the rollout and then the “figuring out what this law means for me” time frame was only ever going to be the beginning of ObamaCare’s problems. Via RCP:
Clearly, there is going to be concern on any new program of this size. However, we see increasingly many fold increases in applications, many fold increases in people who are signing up. We see young people having increased their numbers. So the answer is, I think that this program is starting to get momentum, and I think credibility, and I think it’s going to grow in acceptance, not diminish, but there’s no doubt that the rollout was rough.