Last time: Congress and congressional staff members do not have an Obamacare exemption. Don’t believe me? Check Section 1312 of the law:
Now go away while I again pray for a slap-a-matic. If you don’t want a rant, today’s not your day, unfortunately. If you need the government shutdown explained with a healthy side of snark, Russell Goldman does a pretty good job of it over at the ABC News site. (He’s a snarkastic man after my own heart.)
I spent way too much time today hitting my head against the desk, the wall … just about any flat surface (except my computer, since I really can’t afford to break it) because of all the letters and other copy crossing my desk today that declared that the exemption was real. But then again, the truth means nothing anymore, does it? And by the way, if you’re going to cite polls showing the disapproval rate for the law, at least report the numbers correctly … it’s not like people can’t check the polls for themselves to see if you might be misreporting them to further an agenda.
John Brummett is much better at explaining the health-care law (and frankly, just about everything political) than I am, so I won’t go beyond this on Obamacare: Members of Congress and their staff are explicitly mandated in the law to purchase health insurance only through the exchanges, thanks to an amendment from Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa.
Yes, there is a subsidy extended to those people, but it’s meant to replace (and is the same percentage as) the employer contribution they used to get, but that is not an exemption. Even Grassley is frustrated over the whole thing; he says he never meant for the employer contribution to be lost, according to Roll Call, and that it happened because of a drafting error by Democrats. The Office of Personnel Management‘s fix (the subsidy) was in line with his original language, he said, but that hasn’t stopped others in the GOP (primarily David Vitter) from muddying the waters.
Where we’ve truly run into the problem is the schoolyard bully tactics being employed, holding the government hostage in a futile attempt to defund Obamacare (futile because the funding’s mandated by law, as is the salary for members of Congress … their staff, not so much); hell, even Thomas Sowell says the strategy is futile. A small group of bullies basically is acting as a suicide bomber, and we’re the collateral damage.
Federal employees aren’t just in D.C., and they’re not just in the high-profile agencies we think of. Most important, they’re humans who work for a living, for their families, and because some actually like being public servants.
Rational people recognize that nothing is accomplished without compromise, because let’s face it, we idiots can’t agree on anything, really. If one of us says the grass is green, someone else will say it’s orange with polka-dots.
All these people who keep saying you can’t get something for nothing are trying to do just that, but we’re not allowed to point out that hypocrisy without being shouted down (because if they can’t use logic, they use volume … OK, primarily they use volume). Obamacare (and I think it’s hilarious that even its proponents call it that) is far from perfect, but no law is, which is why most laws change over time, and that’s what should happen here. Fix it, don’t throw it out with no replacement to ensure everyone has access to health care.
Everybody is blaming everybody else, but honestly, I think we know the score. Who’s to blame? Everyone, regardless of party, not willing to give an inch solely based on ideology. That’s not public service. It’s public disservice.
- Complex Concepts Made Simple: The Congressional “Exemption” from Obamacare (misanthropology101.wordpress.com)
- Obamacare Exemptions: Is Congress Exempt? (webpronews.com)
- No congressional Obamacare exemptions (thehill.com)
- Fact Check: Congress, staff are exempt from Obamacare (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
- Is There Really A “Congressional Exemption” From Obamacare? (outsidethebeltway.com)
- No special treatment for Congress (politico.com)
- “Hurting Real People Who Have Real Needs”: Republicans Are Suppressing Obamacare Enrollment (mykeystrokes.com)