The Canary in the Coal Mine (Updated)

Jul 2011
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The Canary in the Coal Mine (Updated)

The Canary in the Coal Mine (Updated) | The Weekly Standard

he poll data is clear and cuts across party lines: 92 percent of the public does not think it is right that Congress and their staff are letting the Obama administration exempt them from the costs of Obamacare. Yet it seems many in Congress still want to dismiss these findings in hopes that these sentiments won't translate into actual voter preferences.

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Incumbents facing reelections shouldn't fool themselves. A recent real-world deployment of the issue shows it can powerfully impact candidates’ prospects.


Do you feel congress and their staff should be exempt from Obamacare? Why do you think they would want to be exempt?
 
Jul 2006
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#3
They want to be exempt because they know the bill is one big shit sandwich. Feed the masses the shit sandwich while we gorge ourselves on caviar at the masses expense. Fucking elitist turds.
 
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Babba

Former Staff
Jul 2007
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#4
I can't believe people are so dense. THEY NEVER WERE EXEMPT FORM OBAMACARE!!!!!!!!. The law states that if your employer already offers health insurance then you don't need to do anything. Congress had health insurance from their employer. An idiot Republican inserted an amendment that required Congress to enter into the exchanges even though the exchanges excluded large employers until 2017.

Let's stop for a moment here and explain why this is unusual. Large employers -- defined in the law as employers with more than 100 employees -- aren't allowed onto the insurance exchanges until 2017, and only then if a state makes an affirmative decision to let them in.

But the federal government is the largest employer in the country. So Grassley's amendment means that the largest employer in the country is required to put some of its employees -- the ones working for Congress -- on the exchanges. But the exchanges don't have any procedures for handling premium contributions for large employers.

That's where the problem comes in. This was an offhand amendment that was supposed to be rejected. It's not clear that the federal government has the authority to pay for congressional staffers on the exchanges, the way it pays for them now in the federal benefits program. That could lead to a lot of staffers quitting Congress because they can't afford to shoulder 100 percent of their premiums. (There's also a smaller issue related to how retiree benefits might be calculated. But I'm only willing to go so far into the weeds here.)

You'll notice a lot of hedged language here: "Ifs" and "coulds". The reason is that the Office of Personnel Management -- which is the agency that actually manages the federal government's benefits -- hasn't ruled on their interpretation of the law. So no one is even sure if this will be an issue. As the Politico article notes, some offices, like that of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), interpret the language of the law such that there's no problem at all. Others are worried it could be an issue, and are trying to prepare ways around it. The staffs I talked to stressed this worrying was preliminary, and felt the Politico article was jumping the gun. "This whole Politico story is based on a ruling that hasn't even come down yet," one griped.

But no one is discussing "exempting" congressional staffers from Obamacare. They're discussing creating some method through which the federal government can keep making its current contribution to the health insurance of congressional staffers.

"Even if OPM rules against us," one staffer said, "it's inaccurate to imply that any talks are aimed at exempting federal employees from routine mandates of ACA since any talks are about resolving the unique bind that the Grassley amendment puts federal employees in."

This isn't, in other words, an effort to flee Obamacare. It's an effort to fix a drafting error that prevents the federal government from paying into insurance exchanges on behalf of congressional staffers who got caught up in a political controversy.
No, Congress isn?t trying to exempt itself from Obamacare

if you don't actually understand the law, please stop commenting on it.
 
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Aug 2012
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Greenridge Free State
#5
Do you feel congress and their staff should be exempt from Obamacare? Why do you think they would want to be exempt?


No.

The do not want off the gravy train American Idol Nation put them on.

We have nothing to blame for the state of our sorry elected official but ourselves.

As Pogo said" We have met the enemy and he is us."

Or something like that..........!
 
Jul 2011
61,883
12,479
“Stay Down”
#7
I can't believe people are so dense. THEY NEVER WERE EXEMPT FORM OBAMACARE!!!!!!!!. The law states that if your employer already offers health insurance then you don't need to do anything. Congress had health insurance from their employer. An idiot Republican inserted an amendment that required Congress to enter into the exchanges even though the exchanges excluded large employers until 2017.



No, Congress isn?t trying to exempt itself from Obamacare

if you don't actually understand the law, please stop commenting on it.


Did you read what you quoted?


They are fighting it because by going on Obama care they are afraid their staffers would quit because they could not afford it?

That should tell us something.



Congress is but one small part of the government. They should be subjected to the laws they heap on us.


Does the parks department have the same health program the military has? I think this argument has a few holes.
 

Babba

Former Staff
Jul 2007
75,832
66,474
So. Md.
#8
Did you read what you quoted?


They are fighting it because by going on Obama care they are afraid their staffers would quit because they could not afford it?

That should tell us something.



Congress is but one small part of the government. They should be subjected to the laws they heap on us.


Does the parks department have the same health program the military has? I think this argument has a few holes.
Because until it was fixed they would have had to pay 100% of their insurance bill. Before they paid the same percentage as most people with employer provided health insurance. Why was that a bad thing? The only people who would have gone into the exchanges are people who didn't have health insurance at all. What was your understanding of the health insurance members of Congress had before this?
 
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