Mandatory Obamacare for all congressional staffers?

This almost happened yesterday, but has now been put off until some time next week. Senator David Vitter (R – LA) has an amendment on the table which will make it mandatory for all GOP staffers on the Hill to get their healthcare through Obamacare. This comes as the GOP continues to consider new leadership and resolutions for caucus rules.

Resolved, that it is the policy of the Republican Conference that all Members shall designate all staff they employ as official for purposes of healthcare when filling out the Annual Designation of “Official Office” staff or otherwise complying with the section 1312 of the Affordable Care Act regardless of whether they work in a member’s personal office, committee office, leadership office, the cloakroom or any other office.

Challenge to Democrats

The Republican Conference calls upon the Senate Democrats to adopt a policy that all Democrat members shall designate all staff they employ as official for purposes of healthcare when filling out the Annual Designation of “Official Office” staff or otherwise complying with the section 1312 of the Affordable Care Act regardless of whether they work in the member’s personal office, committee office, leadership office, the cloakroom or other any other office.

Right now the members and some of their staffers already have to enroll in the DC exchange, but committee and leadership staffers are exempt and can stick with their Federal Employees Health Benefit Program. Some of the Democrat leadership has been a bit more, er… reluctant to make everyone sign up. The intent here seems to be to shame the Democrats into taking a full 100% dose of the medicine they have prescribed for the rest of the nation.

I’ve never been exactly clear on what the strategy behind this move was. (It’s been knocking around in various forms for a while now.) Is it intended to make American’s feel better about having to put up with Obamacare by saying, look.. we’re using it too? If so, that seems an odd tactic if you’re trying to get rid of it. If the goal is to shame the Democrats on the assumption that they won’t enforce it, that seems unlikely. I imagine most of them will throw their staff under the bus in order to bolster their signature legislative victory. If the goal was just to hope that some staffers would become so disgruntled that they begin talking out of school, that’s a minor victory at best. You will find no shortage of people willing to complain about the realities of the program without kicking over too many rocks.

Anyone have a guess? Why are we spending time on this?