If You Like Your Health Care Plan, You Can Keep It. Unless You're a Member of Congress.



In a new report, the Congressional Research Service says the law may have significant unintended consequences for the "personal health insurance coverage" of senators, representatives and their staff members.

For example, it says, the law may "remove members of Congress and Congressional staff" from their current coverage, in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, before any alternatives are available.

The confusion raises the inevitable question: 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?

I'm going to go with "no" on that one.

But let's try to be fair: It's a lengthy piece of legislation. Not everyone's going to have all the provisions memorized. What matters is that those provisions are all clearly written with easy implementation in mind, right?

Ah, well, maybe not…

In its painstaking analysis of the new law, the research service says the impact on Congress itself and the intent of Congress are difficult to ascertain.

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.

Just because we passed the bill doesn't mean we're going to find out what's in it.