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  • Side Effects: Congress Regulates Themselves Out of Coverage

    In the mad dash to meet their strictly political deadline for passing Obamacare,  lawmakers wound up victimizing many people.  Including themselves.

    Members of Congress and Congressional staff currently enjoy a wide variety of excellent health insurance options, courtesy of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). One of the more commonplace campaign promises of federal lawmakers is that they will fight to give ordinary Americans the same kind of choice and competition among the wide variety of private health plans that they have.

    Obamacare doesn’t begin to deliver on that promise.  But in their rush to slap together a bill for the president, Congress just may have succeeded—unintentionally—in abolishing their own enrollment in the FEHBP.

    The new law contains a provision that says members of Congress will have to get their coverage through the new health  insurance exchange created as part of Obamacare.  The problem is:  laws typically take effect immediately upon signing, but the federal exchange won’t be up and running until 2014.  Awkward!

    Writing for the New York Times, Robert Pear rightly questions, “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?”

    Robert Pear’s article highlights a recent 8,100-word report from the Congressional Research Service that concludes Obamacare requires members of Congress and their staff to give up participation in the FEHBP.

    Congress may have some wiggle room here.  The bill doesn’t specify a date certain when members and staff loose their  FEHBP coverage. If they go by precedent, then they lost it on March 23 when the president signed the bill.

    Perhaps they may legally keep what they- under contract- have until the next calendar year. But, after that, all bets are off… at least until the exchange gets off the ground in 2014.

    According to the Congressional Research Service, the bill is also unclear as to which congressional staff are affected.  Non-voting Congressional participants such as the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, the Delegates of Guam, the American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the District of Columbia, may be exempt—i.e., they can continue to purchase insurance through the FEHBP.  The same may also be true for the Capitol Police, the guys in the print shop, the maintenance workers and the groundskeepers at the Capitol.

    And the term “congressional staff” may also exclude committee staff and staff of the Congressional leadership. It looks like they can stay in the FEHBP. How convenient.!

    All this means that, without a fix, lawmakers will get to experience – up front, close and personal- their own sloppy handiwork: passing a monstrous bill that pulls the private sector rug out from under one-sixth of the nation’s economy. Robert Pear asks the right question: If they couldn’t even get their own health care right, how could they be expected to do so for over 300 million Americans?

    Watch them closely. Odds are lawmakers will try to enact a “fix” for their own predicament, even as they leave the rest of us stuck with a shoddily crafted and unpopular law. .

    ?Co-authored by Kathryn Nix.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    27 Responses to Side Effects: Congress Regulates Themselves Out of Coverage

    1. John, Rhode Island says:

      Ha! Serves them right. Too bad they'll sneak a fix for this bill on the back of some unrelated bill and they'll be back to having better coverage than the rest of us.

    2. David T. Bauman, Sal says:

      Who are the bigger fools – Those who created, supported, and "crafted" this bill, or those who voted for and elected them?

    3. TJW - TX says:

      Gee, Todo, I don't think we are in the United States of America anymore. Double unfortunate, is the fact that we are not even over the "rainbow" either! It feels more like a deep dark forest with lions, and tigers and bears, and evil wicked witches lurking in the background to foil our every move!

      If we have a Government of the people, and by the people, then why does it feel like we have taken up sides, why doesn't it feel like the representatives that were voted into office are representing all citizens based on the Constitution (which happens to be the guidelines for our government) instead of beating us down with enormous taxes, and laws that will soon make every citizen a federal felon?

      I think the only concrete answer to this dilemma is for this nation to turn to the Godly heritage that this nation was founded on. Let us encourage every citizen to begin spending time in prayer and reading the Scriptures. You, know the old saying "When all else fails, read the instruction book"! This country has slipped because neither the Bible or the Constitution had been read very often over the last few generations. We have allowed "more" educated folks to explain their meanings to us.

      So, let us begin reading and adjust our lives accordingly.

    4. Jennifer, Tennessee says:

      As Nancy Pelosi excitedly said "we have to pass the bill to find out what's in it". Congress should be VERY excited. After all Govt. run healthcare is exactly what every American needs – even those in Government. :)

      Next time read a bill you incompetent eletists!

    5. Dennis Social Circle says:

      This will not last long, watch a bill passed soon that takes them out of loop. I think if it is good enough for the rest of us, they including obama should have to do the same. Politics at its best on this one.

    6. Betty TX says:

      From the time we are old enough to sign a legal document we've been told to READ WHAT YOU ARE SIGNING. This is an excellent example of why all these numbskull-fools should be dumped out of office. If they cannot even take care of themselves, how in the world can they take of the citizens???

    7. Deborah, North Carol says:

      What else can we say right now besides, "HA! HA!" I know they'll try to change it, but their idiocity has caused 'We the People' to become the most informed bunch in a LONG time…..no more rose colored glasses on us!

    8. Walt, Richmond, VA says:

      As my grandfather and father always said, what is good for the goose is good for the gander… I hope we can hold their feet to the fire on this one. This is what happens when "We will not know what is in the bill until it is passed" you slam it down everybody's throat and the majority of the population is against it, I wonder if Mzzzzzzzzz Pelosi is laughing now?????????????

    9. Oliver H says:

      I think it's great. Wonder when Congress will vote Obama dicator without knowing it. I think only a fool would vore yes on a bill they have not read.

    10. Drew Page, IL says:

      This is soooo choice. I pray to God it's true. It only proves what many of us have said all along. None of these people who rammed this through bothered to read it. Do the words "hoist on your own petard" sound familar? Or, as better stated by our javalin throwing coach, "stuck in the A$$ with your own spear".

      Now that the word is out, watch for the weasel wording to start coming out of Congress about how this was a typo and was widely misinterpreted.

    11. harry,,,tn says:

      if they messed up on signing so what;;;;according to the 28th ammendant we are supposed to have the same as them any way..so why where they alowed for so many years to g et away with this ???????who was to be watching them….the president????he has enough of his own problems………..

    12. Billie says:

      really, this has to stop on the grounds of no tolerance for incompetence of their duties. Accountabilities must be upheld.

      NANCY PELOSI “we have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it” is exactly how IRRESPONSIBLE people THINK. I hope her children are more responsible then her.

      Americans should set much higher standards of members in government office.

      This administration is wrong for America.

    13. Kim El Paso Texas says:

      LOL….It serves them right for pushing something through that they didn't even read.

      Some how some way they will fix it. It's their way of doing things. I hope & pray they can not fix it.

    14. Drew Page, IL says:

      Stuck in the rear with their own spear. I just love it and hope to God it's true.

    15. OldSailor, Redondo B says:

      Most members of congress are millionaires, so now they can pay their staffs' insurance premiums out of their own pockets. A more likely scenario is that congress will discover this problem and sneak coverage in as an amendment for some seemingly innocuous bill. Hey! Here's a thought congress could repeal ObamaCare before it is declared unconstitutional.

    16. OldSailor, Redondo B says:

      The Obamacrats that voted this bill into law need to be voted out of office as soon as possible. November 2010 is our chance to start the ball rolling and then steamroll on to November 2012 when "our dear leader" can be sent packing, too.

    17. Shelton Singletary S says:

      well well well it serves them right.

    18. James Nichols--Missi says:

      folks, until we get really serious about the situation in our great country and do something about it, it's going to continue to get worse. the top is just before blowing off. this is a participation situation not a sit on the sidelines and let somebody else take care of it. we must become the "somebody else" and be like gideons' men and be found standing in our places. God gave us the absolute formula for taking care of these things taking place in our country. read II chron 7:14——-come on men, lets do it!!!!!!!

    19. C Rush, Northern CA says:

      If I read this right…they just screwed thierselves….hahahahahaaa.

      They must have been snacking on a lot of chili peppers:

      "Life is like a jar of Jalapeno peppers;

      what you do today, might Burn Your Ass


    20. David Widmer says:

      As Pogo (rest his soul) said many years ago: "We has founds the ennemy; and they is US." Collectively, we, the citizens of this wonderful country, have put these people in office with our votes. I believe many of them are honest, even competent, however that does not mean they all are. Responsible – now there's a good goal for them to try to achieve!
      Our only course, it seems to me, is for us as (responsible) citizens, to try to correct this problem – Vote responsibly! However, this opens up another topic for discussion: Whom, in their right mind, wants to voluntarily offer to climb on top of that fence to be shot at from all directions? It is difficult, I believe, to find intelligent, responsible people to run for public office. Such an individual who does step up to the plate, would qualify being called a Statesman and Patriot. Are there any out there?? The jury is still out on solving that basic problem. We all need to search out the truth, study the issues, and educate ourselves in order to make better decisions in our daily lives, and in the voting booth. I apologize for my rant here – but I do feel better!!

    21. David Widmer says:

      Sorry, I didn't read far enough about your advice to avoid caps. I would prefer to use italics or underlining to stress my points. I do hope you could edit my previous comment thusly.

      Thank you.

    22. jack-corpus christi, says:

      Vote all of them out of office as soon as possible. Next we elect smart regular people instead of professional politicians.

    23. jane hughes, san ant says:

      We are at a crucial point in history. As citizens we have not done due diligence. We were not paying attention, or at least not publically responding to the things around us in the political arena that were nonsensical. Now we find ourselves in our current situation. Healthcare legislation was just an excuse to capture 16% of the private sector economy. If it wasn't, this bill wouldl increase access, decrease cost, increase quality, and insure everyone. It is obvious to all that it does none of those things. Furthermore, how it even works is a mystery to everyone, not the least of whom are the dimwits, and I use that term purposefully, who voted for a bill they had not read. The very procedures used to pass this monstrosity is an insult to every American citizen.

      We must see a November elimination of most of the House of Representatives, and we all must work to see that it happens. Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, most Americans are not socialists, and most Americans have a sense of fair play. When you dissent on issues, and receive ridicule and inflammatory labeling from the administration and leaders in Congress, the very foundation of our country is crumbling. The fight is not yet over. Hopefully many states will invoke nullification, and the Constitutional battles will prevail.

    24. Robert says:

      I am an accountant who has been purchasing my own health coverage thru Anthem BC/BS. As soon as Obamacare passed I received a notice that in 2 months a 35% premium increase will take place, $154.00/month. They say it is age related (58, both me and my wife) I don't believe them, as I came down with Brain Cancer in June 2009. It has been very costly for them and me. I have a high deductible HSA policy; $6000.00 out of pocket per year. I cannot work so cannot contribute to HSA. Am not sure how I will pay. I think the increase is health related, which if I understand it correctly is supposed to be forbidden.

    25. miles Zaremski, high says:

      Hurray for the morons we put into office. Enacting a law that puts them in sync with all citizens is precisely "what the doctor ordered". What is "good for the goose is good for the gander". Now, let's see how they wiggle out of this one without offending every single American who needs access to health care and be able to afford it.

    26. Pingback: Top Ten Side Effects of 2010 | The Conservative Papers

    27. James Venable says:

      We need term limits, no benefits like insurance or retirement, and no ability to exempt themselves from laws they pass for us and we have to obey!!

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