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Thu Apr 25, 2013, 03:00 PM

No, Congress isn’t trying to exempt itself from Obamacare

No, Congress isn’t trying to exempt itself from Obamacare

Posted by Ezra Klein

There’s a Politico story making the rounds that says that members of Congress are engaged in secret, sensitive negotiations to exempt themselves and their staffs from Obamacare.

Well, they were secret, anyway.

<...>

The story has blown up on Twitter. “Unbelievable,” tweets TPM’s Brian Beutler. “Flat out incredible,” says Politico’s Ben White. “Obamacare for thee, but not for me,” snarks Ben Domenech. “Two thumbs way, way down,” says Richard Roeper. (Okay, I made the last one up).

If this sounds unbelievable, it’s because it is. There’s no effort to “exempt” Congress from Obamacare. No matter how this shakes out, Congress will have to follow the law, just like everyone else does.

Based on conversations I’ve had with a number of the staffs involved in these talks, the actual issue here is far less interesting, and far less explosive, than an exemption. Rather, a Republican amendment meant to embarrass Democrats and a too-clever-by-half Democratic response has possibly created a problem in which the federal government can’t make its normal contribution to the insurance premiums of congressional staffers.

- more -

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/04/25/no-congress-isnt-trying-to-exempt-itself-from-obamacare/

This close to full implementation of the law, the bullshit stories driven by Republicans and anti-health care forces are to be expected and the level of desperation of the opposition is clearly increasing.

Most Congressional aides, given the low salaries are going to qualify for Medicaid or huge subsidies.

Bullshit stories like the above overshadow other news.

A new day for the 'war on drugs'
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022754071



7 replies, 1111 views

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Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply No, Congress isn’t trying to exempt itself from Obamacare (Original post)
ProSense Apr 2013 OP
elleng Apr 2013 #1
ProSense Apr 2013 #2
elleng Apr 2013 #3
ProSense Apr 2013 #4
Cha Apr 2013 #5
ProSense Apr 2013 #7
Scurrilous Apr 2013 #6

Response to ProSense (Original post)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 03:09 PM

1. Its really in the 'weeds,' as Klein says.

'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.'

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Response to elleng (Reply #1)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 03:22 PM

2. It's Republican

mumbo jumbo, likely pushed in the media by Republicans. The rulemaking process will take care of whatever is at issue. Also, note the BS comparison between the federal government and a large cooperation.

The OPM manages the federal health program. It has enough experience to be able to structure the program to meet the needs of federal employees.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #2)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 03:27 PM

3. Yes, I know OPM can handle it.

(I'm a retired Federal employee.)

Its more of grassley's b.s.

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Response to elleng (Reply #3)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 03:38 PM

4. Yup. Think Progress:

How The Media Invented The Latest Obamacare Controversy

By Igor Volsky

After a Politico article on Wednesday evening suggested that Congress is plotting to “exempt” itself from enrolling in the Affordable Care Act’s health care exchanges, other media outlets quickly began using the piece to accuse Democrats of trying to avoid complying with the law. But a close reading of the original Republican amendment behind the uproar reveals that the controversy has more to do with politics than the merits of the health legislation.

<...>

But Politico’s implication that Democrats are trying to exempt themselves from the Affordable Care Act, while mandating millions of Americans to enroll in expensive coverage through the exchanges, falls apart upon examination of the original Grassley amendment, available on the Senate Finance Committee website. The measure may have been a political ploy to embarrass Democrats, but it does not seek to treat Congressional aides as unemployed and uninsured individuals who would have to (comparatively) pay more for insurance than they currently do. Rather, the measure clearly stipulates that Congressional employees “use their employer contribution” to buy insurance through the exchange:

<...>

The author of the provision and all of the lawmakers who ultimately voted for it always intended for the federal government to continue subsidizing coverage for their staff and Democrats fully expect OPM to issue regulations consistant with the intent of the law. “Senator Reid is committed to ensuring that all members of Congress and Congressional staff experience the benefits of the Affordable Care Act in exactly the same way as every other American,” spokesman Adam Jentelson said in a statement. “He believes that this is the effect of the legislation as written, and that therefore no legislative fix is necessary.”

Unfortunately, conservative critics and some in the press are so eager to report on the alleged failure of the Affordable Care Act, they’d exploit a fairly mundane and technical question into sensationalistic story about Congressional hypocrisy.

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/04/25/1923061/how-the-media-invented-the-latest-obamacare-controversy/

More GOP shill media BS.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 04:23 PM

5. MediaLies.

thanks ProSense.

Great news about "the war on drugs"!

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Response to Cha (Reply #5)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 06:57 PM

7. And the people who desperately want to believe them.



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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 04:36 PM

6. Thanks!

K & R

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