In a move sure to go over well with voters of all stripes, Congress has received a deal from the White House to “fix” an issue in ObamaCare which would have simply applied the law to members of Congress and their staff. A measure in the original Affordable Care Act (ACA) legislation, inserted by Senator Chuck Grassley, required that the provisions set forth in the law would apply to Congress the same way it would apply to all Americans. That provision, and the implications of ObamaCare with regard to rising insurance premiums, are now coming home to roost as the law nears full implementation.

Report from MarketWatch:

The White House has approved a deal that will exempt members of Congress and their staff from some of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, Politico reported late Thursday. Under the law, popularly referred to as Obamacare, lawmakers and their aides were required to source health insurance “created” by the law or offered through one of its exchanges, and without the subsidies they currently enjoy, the members of Congress would have faced thousands of dollars in additional premium payments each year, the report said.

However, the Office of Personnel Management now plans to rule that the government can continue to make a contribution to the health-care premiums of the lawmakers and their staff, it said, citing unnamed congressional sources and a White House official.

This was released on a Friday in August for a reason. Will voters notice and will they care that Congress was able to change the rules to avoid increased health insurance premiums? Does this have implications for 2014 and 2016?

18 COMMENTS

  1. The headline is misleading and, well, wrong. It makes it sound as if Congress is now out of the program altogether. They just didn’t like that they would be losing their special subsidy. So it’s back.

    If it were up to me, Congress would have the same deal we have–and that includes ONLY getting Social Security when they retire.

    But giving them back their freebie is not at all the same as saying, “White House approves deal to exempt Congress from Obamacare.” They will have ALL of Obamacare, PLUS an extension of their current subsidy.

    At least now we see WHY the House has voted 80 times against losing their special deal. . . .

    • So saying they exempt themselves from premium increases as a result of ObamaCare is more accurate. This could be presented a dozen ways.

      Either they’re just returning their freebie they used to receive – OR – they’re doing what no average American can do which is disregard what the Affordable Care Act says and carve out their own workaround for the law they themselves passed.

      Neither way to spin it makes it any more appealing.

    • Actually, the more I consider it, the headline is totally accurate.

      The Affordable Care Act said congress and their staff would have to source and pay for their own insurance following the SAME rules as any citizen. Congress and their staff doesn’t like that now. Thus, they have *exempted* themselves from that part of the Affordable Care Act by getting OPM to simply ignore the law and continue paying a subsidy for their insurance instead of letting the chips fall where they may under the ACA.

      The headline isn’t wrong. ObamaCare will not apply to them as it was supposed to under the law. How is that not being exempt from following the law?

      • Nate: Yer reaching, dude. Obamacare has many facets. To give them a subsidy on TOP of the plan is not negating the plan. That’s like saying when Bush added Medicare D that he was repealing Medicare. I think it’s a giant leap forward to have Congress IN the plan at all. Now, let’s get them inside the Social Security system.

    • Sorry Nate – Goethe is totally right. (wow, did I just say that? In a public forum, no less? 🙂 )

      Any employer is free to provide extra subsidies to their employees. The fact that the employer in this case is entangled up with the employees is a separate issue.

      Your headline uses simplistic language to imply (and I have no doubt that it was intended as such) that ObamaCare will not touch the US Congress, when in reality that is not true. Your replies to Goethe seem more like rationalization than anything else.

      There is no need to be sensational with the headlines. The truth is ugly enough.

      BUT WAIT, there’s more! I found a slight error in Goethe’s post. There, I feel so much better now 🙂

      Goethe, members of Congress are considered Federal employees, and are under the same Federal employee retirement systems as all other Federal employees. There are two standalone Federal systems that have been in place at different times, plus Social Security. Federal employees have always had to choose the system in which they would participate, modulo some of those systems being unavailable to them by law. My father is retired from USPS/GAO/NASA (no, not three retirements, but his career involved working for all three), so I’ve followed this whole thing for a long time. This notion of Congress having a special healthcare system that nobody else has, or a retirement system that nobody else has, is simply urban legend.

      • RE: There are two standalone Federal systems that have been in place at different times, plus Social Security. Federal employees have always had to choose the system in which they would participate, modulo some of those systems being unavailable to them by law.

        Neville, you are partly right in your post, There are two stand alone pension systems, and Social Security, and Congress must choose where they contribute, but they also must contribute to Social Security, something they never did until 1984 (http://www.senate.gov/reference/common/faq/retirement_for_members.shtml), and their Healthcare benefit is better than most americans get in their jobs, but the coverage is based on the state they reside in (http://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare/). However, Congress while in DC is able to visit the Office of the Attending Physician, and use any Army or Navy hospital without cost, they need only pay a 500.00 annual fee.

  2. ObamaCare has been falling apart at the seems since it was introduced as a bill,,,even before it became law. America never wanted it. This is a baby of the democratic party going back to the early 1900’s. Problem is American’s have always by and large wanted to take care of ourselves…independently.

    I just don’t see how this thing will stay in place. Too many exceptions, too many excemptions…if it were all that great wouldn’t people want it? Democrats (those in government) simply don’t realize that this kind of thing is counter to human nature. Nobody likes someone else deciding what’s best for them.

    Republicans really need to make this a campaign issue…that is if they want to get control of congress and win the WH again.

  3. Nate — I would title it differently, to capture this maneuver in its true essence:

    “Obama wants to further own Congress by attempting to cut them a special deal”

    Conclusion:
    It’s good to be the king — so you can buy congressional votes at the cheap…..

  4. IMPEACH Barack Hussein Obama — it stumbles-and-bumbles AND STUTTERS (which is usual for this political creature to try and come up with an answer it is not prepared for) while trying to decide what it is: A DICTATOR or NOT….LOL!

    ABSOLUTELY THE BEST VIDEO THAT MAKES THE CASE FOR IMMEDIATE IMPEACHMENT !!!

    Time to IMPEACH — make this15 minute video viral.

    Also, nice exposure of Hitlery Clinton!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfB7xihoqVo

    If any of you here are true Americans, give this post a thumbs up.

    Thank you!

    p.s. Don’t worry about the NSA (Nazis Spying on Americans) profiling you, they’ve been spying on you illegally for years, and the only way to stop them now is to have Obama IMPEACHED!

  5. *Today’s USA = old CCCP 2.0* — you may find this truly educational and fundamentally disturbing!
    ——————————————————————————————–

    A friend of mine who escaped from Communism 40+ years ago and came to USA as a political refugee seeking freedom in our Country had the following to say:

    “I escaped in the early 1970’s from a Communist Eastern Block Country that was totalitarian in every meaning of the word — no-one could say a word against the government, it meant you disappeared in a Concentration (what the West called “Labor”) Camp, with your friends and relatives not knowing what happened to you. There were no warrants issued, no charges levied in a Court of Law — in the middle of the night uniformed and armed police broke down your door and hauled you away while your wife and children were screaming in distress. Never to be seen or heard of again!

    If you were one of the lucky ones to dare cross barbwired and booby-trapped with mines borders to the West, and made it across to FREEDOM, and eventually were accepted as a political refugee while waiting in a refugee camp in Western Europe for many months, and then came to America — you were than declared as a Traitor by your own Birth Nation, and given an automatic life-in-jail sentence (should you be recaptured and brought back) for betraying the Communist Party by escaping to America.

    Becoming a US Citizen in the late 1970’s was the proudest moment of my life — finally my ordeal of escaping a totalitarian dictatorship was rewarded by becoming a FREE MAN, an American Citizen!

    Now, a proud American Citizen in the 1980’s that could vote, I started noticing an alarming trend in US Politics — a tiny step that made no sense to me to make it into law, since it sounded what the Communists did — tell you all Laws they pass are for YOUR OWN GOOD! “Put your seatbelt on while driving”!!!

    Now, as a free man, I thought the government MUST NOT interfere with my choices for my own safety, and not treat me as a child to decide what’s best for me! But they did it anyway — and made it into law! The now famous: “Click it or Ticket”.

    That was the first red flag for me that the US Government was more concerned in controlling the people than respecting their rights to choose what’s best for themselves. What if one is claustrophobic and therefore cannot wear a seatbelt, or has fear of fire in an accident and the belt not releasing — NO, the Government has DECIDED for your OWN GOOD that YOU MUST WEAR ONE (you, as a Citizen, are too stupid to know any better), and made it into LAW!

    Now, from this tiny step that was mutely accepted by ALL Americans FOR THEIR OWN GOOD, our Government has made strides and leaps that are unimaginable IN CITIZENS CONTROL when compared to the old CCCP (the MOST AND LONGEST DICTATORIAL GOVERNMENT the world had seen in modern times, until, the Soviet Union financially collapsed 20 years ago… is now supplanted 2.0 by our own US Government).

    Here is the count of what Today’s US Government has improved 2.0 on the tyrannical Soviets, courtesy of the muteness of our own Citizens who accept these as Laws for OUR OWN GOOD (The Communist mantra of old — SHAME ON YOU ALL who dare call themselves Americans):

    1) Obama signs NAADA into Law, then when challenged and overturned by a Federal Judge, Obama sicks his lawyers to bring it back — meaning NOW STILL under Obama any US Citizen suspected ONLY (no need to issue a warrant or face a Judge) of terrorist activities (even if they are totally false) can and will be forcibly removed by gun-totting government agents from his home by breaking down his door like the KGB of old did in Soviet Russia (while his wife and children scream in distress) to an undisclosed location by the US Military never to be heard of again! Sounds like a concentration camp? Well done Obama — good lesson learned and APPLIED INTO US LAW by YOU from the now defunct Soviet Dictators!

    2) Dare speak against the Obama Government, and the IRS, NSA and many more are going to flag you down AND TARGET YOU, for JUST BEING AN AMERICAN CITIZEN exercising your Constitutional Rights!

    The Communist Governments used to do this legally, since they were not ashamed to tell you they were in Power and your were nothing but their subjects — but today’s US Government lies and is 2.0 the Soviets, PRISM and their like programs spy on every single American citizen, and make a file on us all…just like the Soviets did only on their Dissidents — not All their Citizens!

    SHAME ON ALL AMERICANS FOR PUTTING UP WITH THIS!

    3) If you dared escape A Communist Country back then, and became a refugee in America — the Communists would seek all means to bring you back so they can torture you and then kill you and thus make an EXAMPLE OF YOU SO NO OTHERS WOULD ATTEMPT TO DO WHAT YOU DID!

    Do you remember Simas Kudirka? The Russian seaman that jumped ship in the USA to seek refugee status from the tyrannical Russian Government in 1970 — and eventually the US Government turned him over to the Soviets to take him back to torture and eventually kill him?

    How sad is that the world has flipped — where NOW an American is seeking refugee status into Russia from a tyrannical USA Government that want’s to do to Edward Snowden in 2013 what the Russians did to Simas Kudirka in 1970!

    I feel I’m cursed — I escaped Communism over 40 years ago, and it still follows me here. America has become more communist today than The Soviet Block ever was!
    —————————————————————————————–

    I’ve taped many interviews with this gentleman, and have supplied them to my lawyers. We’ll be posting an extensive article on time for the 2014 elections.

    Hope all Americans are paying attention to this man’s simple statements — IT’S OUR COUNTRY TO LOSE!

    • RE: 2) Dare speak against the Obama Government, and the IRS, NSA and many more are going to flag you down AND TARGET YOU, for JUST BEING AN AMERICAN CITIZEN exercising your Constitutional Rights!

      Maybe he should look up the case of how a citizen was arrested for telling Vice President Chaney that the Bush administration policies on Iraq were crazy. The Secret Service arrested this citizen, and the supreme court more or less upheld his arrest by agreeing with the administration and threw out his lawsuit, even after other Secret Service officers backed up his version of what happened. Or how about the fact the it was the Bush administration that passed the Patriot Act, and did warrantless wiretaps on its citizens for 6 years, tortured the prisoners at Gitmo, and he is going to sit on his high horse and judge Obama.

      The incident of Simas Kudirka occurred under another GOP president. Did your friend not stop and think about that? The GOP try to make it look like the democrats are the demons of the country, but the fact that the GOP are the repressors is startling in what they keep attempting to do to US citizens, from gerrymandering their districts, to voter suppression of the poor white, as well as the blacks and hispanics and Latino’s.

      Somehow that fact that you fail to acknowledge the horrendous act that Bush did really makes your rant look more like a GOP talking point, or political ad. SHAME ON YOU for even comparing Obama to the likes of Russia and its dictators. This country can do fine without the likes of this yahoo. I was born and raised in America, and that makes this MY COUNTRY, and if he doesn’t like it, then he can find a new country like Snowden, maybe he should return to Russia!

  6. NSA (Nazis Spying on Americans) is happening NOW!!!

    Time to IMPEACH Lil’ Hussein !!!
    ——————————————————————————-
    And now, the important News:

    Ron Paul: *Why Won’t They Tell Us the Truth About NSA Spying?*

    “In 2001, the Patriot Act opened the door to US government monitoring of Americans without a warrant. It was unconstitutional, but most in Congress over my strong objection were so determined to do something after the attacks of 9/11 that they did not seem to give it too much thought. Civil liberties groups were concerned, and some of us in Congress warned about giving up our liberties even in the post-9/11 panic. But at the time most Americans did not seem too worried about the intrusion.

    This complacency has suddenly shifted given recent revelations of the extent of government spying on Americans. Politicians and bureaucrats are faced with serious backlash from Americans outraged that their most personal communications are intercepted and stored. They had been told that only the terrorists would be monitored. In response to this anger, defenders of the program have time and again resorted to spreading lies and distortions. But these untruths are now being exposed very quickly.

    In a Senate hearing this March, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Senator Ron Wyden that the NSA did not collect phone records of millions of Americans. This was just three months before the revelations of an NSA leaker made it clear that Clapper was not telling the truth. Pressed on his false testimony before Congress, Clapper apologized for giving an “erroneous” answer but claimed it was just because he “simply didn’t think of Section 215 of the Patriot Act.” Wow.

    As the story broke in June of the extent of warrantless NSA spying against Americans, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers assured us that the project was a strictly limited and not invasive. He described it as a “lockbox with only phone numbers, no names, no addresses in it, we’ve used it sparingly, it is absolutely overseen by the legislature, the judicial branch and the executive branch, has lots of protections built in…”

    But we soon discovered that also was not true either. We learned in another Guardian newspaper article last week that the top secret “X-Keyscore” program allows even low-level analysts to “search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals.”

    The keys to Rogers’ “lockbox” seem to have been handed out to everyone but the janitors! As Chairman of the Committee that is supposed to be most in the loop on these matters, it seems either the Intelligence Community misled him about their programs or he misled the rest of us. It sure would be nice to know which one it is.

    Likewise, Rep. Rogers and many other defenders of the NSA spying program promised us that this dragnet scooping up the personal electronic communications of millions of Americans had already stopped “dozens” of terrorist plots against the United States. In June, NSA director General Keith Alexander claimed that the just-disclosed bulk collection of Americans’ phone and other electronic records had “foiled 50 terror plots.”

    Opponents of the program were to be charged with being unconcerned with our security.

    But none of it was true.

    The Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday heard dramatic testimony from NSA deputy director John C. Inglis. According to the Guardian:

    “The NSA has previously claimed that 54 terrorist plots had been disrupted ‘over the lifetime’ of the bulk phone records collection and the separate program collecting the internet habits and communications of people believed to be non-Americans. On Wednesday, Inglis said that at most one plot might have been disrupted by the bulk phone records collection alone.”

    From dozens to “at most one”?

    Supporters of these programs are now on the defensive, with several competing pieces of legislation in the House and Senate seeking to rein in an administration and intelligence apparatus that is clearly out of control. This is to be commended. What is even more important, though, is for more and more and more Americans to educate themselves about our precious liberties and to demand that their government abide by the Constitution. We do not have to accept being lied to – or spied on — by our government.”

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