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


If you like being confused about health care, you can keep being confused about health care.


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.

NEXT: The Syndicalist Side of Ronald Reagan

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  1. Its a pretty messed up system isnt it? I mean really.


  2. No one in Congress should have health insurance until every American has health insurance!!

    I like the sound of that.

  3. those provisions are all clearly written with easy implementation in mind, right?


  4. I just had a schadenfreudegasm.

    1. Good neologism.

  5. And we thought Pelosi was kidding.

    1. Am I serious? Am I serious?

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

    But once we do, we’re going to love it! Right?

    I predict this prevision will be repealed, and congresscritters and their staffs will be exempted from the “cadillac plan tax”, through an amendment on page 2,714 of the next omnibus budget act.

    1. Don’t spoil my fun.

    2. They’ll actually go to the trouble of repealing it? I figure they’ll do what they always do–just ignore it and any other parts of the law they don’t like.

    3. prevision = provision

      I did go to a public school, but I can spell. Really. It’s my typing that sucks. And if you had a goddamn preview feature this wouldn’t happen.

      1. preversion

        1. perversion?

    4. Let’s see if the GOP puts their money where their moths are and filibusters any attempt to repeal this provision.

      1. I am one slimy, state-loving piece of shit.

        1. So am I. We both deserve to be kicked in the nads… if we have any.

  7. It’s not a mandate! It’s a check box on your 1040!

  8. Caption contest!

    “This team of scientists agrees: I’m this long.”

    1. “You’re gonna love working for me!”

  9. “These ethnically diverse actors paid to dress in lab coats are entirely on our side.”

    1. I can’t believe there’s not one in a wheelchair.

      1. I bet at least one of them knows the heartbreak of psoriasis.

  10. if the drafters of this legislation had spent less time attempting to appease the unappeasable (ie, the Party of No), they could have drafted a more perfectly worded document.

    1. The drafters spent little time working to appease Republicans, and a great deal of time trying to appease Democrats (one of two Parties of What’s In It For Me).

    2. Ah, you’re explaining away everything that went wrong in Iraq, right?

  11. Wooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

    This made my day. I better stop reading now before Balko posts his daily nutcracker.

  12. I never published any journal articles when I was a college professor, but my colleagues used to tell me what fun it was to publish some nonsense that your grad students wrote under your name and then watch people try to figure out what the hell “you” were “saying.” And now I know what they were talking about.

  13. “did lawmakers who wrote”

    Now that’s a joke. When was the last time a lawmaker actually wrote a law? A hundred years ago? More?

  14. “The statute does not appear to be self-executing, but rather seems to require an administrating or implementing authority that is not specifically provided for by the statutory text.”

    American taxpayers spend over $100 million a year to fund the Congressional Research Service, so come on, CRS — you can sling it better than *that*.

    1. Bullshit its not self-executing. The clause at issue, which is effective immediately, is as follows:

      With respect to health insurance for Members of Congress and congressional staff, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, ? 1312(d)(3)(D)(i), specifically requires that:

      the only health plans that the Federal Government may make available to Members of Congress and congressional staff with respect to their service as a Member of Congress or congressional staff shall be health plans that are–

      (I) created under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act); or

      (II) offered through an Exchange established under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act).

      What’s not self-executing about that?

      The real question is, who has standing to sue to force the federal government to abide by their shiny new law?

      1. As a lowly taxpayer (net taxpayer I might add) … not me.

      2. The real question is, who has standing to sue to force the federal government to abide by their shiny new law?

        A federal employee who wants to stick it to their boss good and hard.

  15. If You Like Your Health Care Plan, You Can Keep It. Unless You’re a Member of Congress. Or you pay cash.

  16. This is how it needs to be:

    Either we mere peasants get the same health care the politicans get… or they get what WE get.

    I prefer the latter. Make the fuckers wait at the local clinic. No special favors. No cuts in line.

    Got a broken rib sticking out? Wait your turn, dickweed. Too fucking bad.

    1. Just because they’re nominally under the same law as us doesn’t mean there will be any consequences if they just decide not to follow it. Just ask Rangel or Geithner.

  17. Is a self-executing law similar to a circular firing squad?

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