The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


In April, I wrote about a developing story that some members of Congress were looking for ways to get themselves and their staff out from participating in Obamacare.  There was such a large kerfuffle and outrage about it that news reports quickly surfaced that Congress was doing no such thing.

Yesterday Politico broke another story that shows there certainly is activity underway by Congress and the Obama administration to make sure members of Congress and their staff are not forced into the Obamacare exchanges.

As a reminder, here is a little background.  During the healthcare debate, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) offered an amendment in the Senate Finance Committee that would require members of Congress and their staff to get their health insurance in the same insurance exchanges that were being made available to the general public.  The amendment was accepted, after all, how could it be refused?  Obamacare was going to be the Utopia for healthcare for all of America.

However, during closed door meetings, the legislation was re-written and House and Senate committee staff removed themselves and leadership staff from the requirement.  However, the requirement that members of Congress and their personal staff get their healthcare through the exchanges still stands.  You can read a little more about it here.

I urge you to read the Politico article but here are a few tidbits that should make your blood boil.

  • 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...The fear: Government-subsidized premiums will disappear at the end of the year under a provision in the health care law that nudges aides and lawmakers onto the government health care exchanges, which could make their benefits exorbitantly expensive…
  • The problem is far more acute in the House, where lawmakers and aides are generally younger and less wealthy.  Sources said several aides have already given lawmakers notice that they’ll be leaving over concerns about Obamacare.  Republican and Democratic lawmakers said the chatter about retiring now, to remain on the current health care plan, is constant…
  • Lawmakers and aides on both sides of the aisle are acutely aware of the problems with the provision.  Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have discussed fixes to the provision.  Boehner, according to House GOP sources, believes that Reid must take the lead on crafting a solution.  Since Republicans opposed the bill, Boehner does not feel responsible to lead the effort to make changes…

Considering the lousy job market, I am not quite sure where some of these congressional staff think there are going to find work.  Ironically we are seeing a microcosm on Capitol Hill of the disruption happening across the country.  Employers are reducing hours for their employees or simply not hiring to avoid or reduce their exposure to the expensive and tightly regulated Obamacare.  The Federal Reserve provided examples in its March Beige Book, that shows Obamacare is a drag on the economy.  Here are some quotes:

  • Many District contacts commented on the expired payroll tax holiday and the Affordable Care Act as having restrained sales growth.
  • Employers in several Districts cited the unknown effects of the Affordable Care Act as reasons for planned layoffs and reluctance to hire more staff.
  • Some contacts noted concern that client companies are hiring the absolute minimum to get by due to uncertainty about the Affordable Care Act

There is no doubt that Congress will find a way to remove themselves from Obamacare, the very law that is raising premiums and costs for the rest of Americans across the country.  After all, you must know that “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

 

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