Obamacare

Democratic Legislator Says It's Not Fair That Hill Staffers Might Have to Buy Insurance Through Obamacare's Exchanges

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credit: VinothChandar / Foter.com / CC BY

Politico reports that "Dozens of lawmakers and aides are so afraid that their health insurance premiums will skyrocket next year thanks to Obamacare that they are thinking about retiring early or just quitting." This is obviously not the same as actually quitting, but the piece does suggest the headaches that the health law could cause for congressional staff.

The reason that folks on Capitol Hill are considering leaving is that the law requires legislators and their staffs to buy Obamacare exchange plans. There's some question about how this requirement will actually be interpreted, and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has yet to rule. But OPM could decide that the requirement means that congressional aides have to give up their current insurance plans, and thus the tax break that goes to employer-sponsored insurance, and buy plans through Obamacare's exchanges. If so, that would mean losing their current health plans and, thanks to the loss of the tax subsidy, losing the equivalent of several thousand dollars a year from their paychecks. According to Politico, "the uncertainty has created a growing furor on Capitol Hill with aides young and old worried about skyrocketing health care premiums cutting deeply into their already small paychecks."

The report indicates that Democrats want to alter the requirement, but know that it may not be easy politically. That's hardly surprising given that "the provision was put in the bill in the first place on the theory that if Congress was going to make the country live under the provisions of Obamacare, the members and staff should have to as well." Rep. John Larson, a Democrat from Connecticut, however, thinks that requirement is unreasonable. If the problems many Hill staffers have with the requirement are not resolved, he told Politico, "I think we should begin an immediate amicus brief to say, 'Listen this is simply not fair to these employees.' They are federal employees." So it's unfair to require federal employees to participate in one of the central features of a law they passed?

I am actually somewhat sympathetic to the concerns Hill staffers have with the health law. Just as the law is likely to prove burdensome, in a variety of ways, to many workers, managers, and business owners across the country, it is also likely to provde frustrating to members of Congress and their aides. But perhaps the Democrats who, like Larson, both voted to pass the law and now want to alter it in order to avoid the problems they expect it to cause for themselves and their colleagues should have considered that before voting for the law in the first place. Their particular problems with the health law do not now deserve special attention simply because they are lawmakers. 

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  1. it is also likely to provde frustrating to members of Congress and their aides

    Good – fuck ’em. I hope they all die painfully slow deaths due to disease that could have been prevented if they’d gotten earlier treatment.

    Hope that’s clear.

    1. Also – FIST!

    2. Also – FIST!

  2. Of course they think they should be exempt. Of course they do. And there is probably a very high probability that they will sneak through some kind of exemption. Hopefully, someone would start making massive hay about that.

    Fuck these parasitical scum.

  3. Of course they think they should be exempt. Of course they do. And there is probably a very high probability that they will sneak through some kind of exemption. Hopefully, someone would start making massive hay about that.

    Fuck these parasitical scum.

    1. Of course they do, Epi. But they are also smart enough to realize they’d get caught and that it wouldn’t go over well.

      As has been often speculated here, they will fix the problem by pushing for universal single-payer.

  4. This post likes the double tap?

    Seriously, the best thing that can happen to us peasants is that our political masters get stuck with the same shit sandwich they fed us being force fed to them.

    Keep your eyes open for the quick and quiet amendment to some insignifacnt law that will exempt them.

    1. This post likes the double tap?

      That’s what these fools get for posting during the 3PM witching minute.

      1. Its more like the witching 1/12th of an hour. I get screwed over until about 3:05.

  5. Congressional staffers can’t possibly be worried about this provision or making plans to quit. The bill hasn’t taken full effect yet.

  6. I would love if this trickled dow to the states. The states are in charge of setting up the exchanges, so the state legislaturors, their staff and state staff should buy into the exchanges as well. Oh the wailing would be wonderful. Smart business people should start asking their unions to take Obamacare as well. Listening to union leaders complain that Obamacare doesn’t have enough coverage and is too expensive will be just as tasty.

  7. am actually somewhat sympathetic to the concerns Hill staffers have with the health law.

    I am not. I love it. I hope every fucking one of them gets a painful disease and after years of misery gets put down by a death panel. These people are fucking scum.

    1. If I could have a schadenfraude orgasm, this would have put me over the top.

    2. Not only should they not be exempt, they should be required to stay in the f*ing program for a full year after it has been modified, so they suffer the full measure of their foolishness.

  8. But think of the expanded benefits!

    Let Em Burn
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdyPU-cnm0I

  9. “Dozens of lawmakers and aides are so afraid that their health insurance premiums will skyrocket next year thanks to Obamacare that they are thinking about retiring early or just quitting.”

    What will Capitol Hill do in the intellectual vacuum created by the departure of so many members of the brain trust that brought us legislative triumphs such as PPACA?

    1. If these guys were so smart, why didn’t they schedule implementation of PPACA for AFTER the 2014 midterms?

    2. What will we do. The people who have managed to bankrupt and completely fuck up the richest and greatest country in the history of the world will no longer be providing us with their services.

  10. This is wonderful. It’s nice when the scum in Washington have to suffer with the rest of us.

    1. They are fucked. No way will their bosses expend any political capital to save them. If Congress members themselves were subject to this, it would be different. But the hired help? Sucks to be you.

      1. The reason that folks on Capitol Hill are considering leaving is that the law requires legislators and their staffs to buy Obamacare exchange plans. There’s some question about how this requirement will actually be interpreted, and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has yet to rule. But OPM could decide that the requirement means that congressional aides have to give up their current insurance plans, and thus the tax break that goes to employer-sponsored insurance, and buy plans through Obamacare’s exchanges.

        Congresscritters are included. Whoever put this little poison pill in gets a free pass on their next little statisty moment from me.

        1. LOL God bless his soul whoever did that. I bet they don’t change it. IF they do, they are going to be creating one hell of a campaign issue for their opponents.

        2. It was probably put in by some young staffer who truly believes that government can best solve problems.

          1. and bless his (or her) little statist heart

          2. It’s called the Grassley Amendment…I’m going to guess it was Charles Grassley who put it in.

            It wasn’t like this wasn’t debated and discussed back in 2009-10. It’s hilarious that now since it has become clear that they’re going to have to pay an arm and a leg they are trying to find any excuse to back out of it.

            Oh the precious staffers. Somehow I think the country will do better with less gophers on Capitol Hill. Perhaps a few of our Reps will get their own coffee and read the goddamn bills.

            I love that they can’t see how much of problem this is going to be for the WHOLE COUNTRY, while simultaneously complaining of the problems it is creating for them.

          3. Yeah, I suspect that this was put it not to make them suffer under the same rules we all have to suffer under but to allow them to enjoy the same generous benefits we all get to enjoy.

            If they had a lick of sense, they wouldn’t have tried to sell this as a complaint that they wanted exempted because they were being harmed by Obamacare but that they wanted to deprive themselves of the benefits of Obamacare because it wouldn’t be fair for them to hog all the benefits for themselves. They are, after all, humble public servants and it just wouldn’t be right for them to be as well off as the general public.

  11. Fuck these people, and fuck this asshole who voted for it but doesn’t feel it’s fair to subject his buddies to it.

    Eat your own fucking dog food, asshole.

  12. What are they worrying about? If they like their plans, they will get to keep them. Except the act will make them more affordable. That’s right there in the name, Affordable Care Act.

  13. If they’re so low paid, then wouldn’t they qualify for the exchange subsidies that supposedly will make this that insurance “affordable?”

  14. There’s an applicable slang term from software development: “eat your own dogfood.” It’s when the people writing a program are forced to use it to do actual work, not just testing it, so that they fully grasp its problems.

  15. “Listen this is simply not fair to these employees.”

    In other words, it is not fair for the junior members of the ruling class be subject to a law intended to control the proles.

    No, it sucks for those employees. It is “fair”.

  16. I guess the schadenfreude is on the other foot now. Moar tears!

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