Congress Exempts Itself From Obamacare Rate Shock as Americans Face Skyrocketing Premiums

Katie Pavlich

8/2/2013 11:00:00 AM - Katie Pavlich
As everyday Americans face healthcare premium rate shock thanks to Obamacare, Congress and their staffs have just been exempted from having to pay thousands of dollars in extra cash for their healthcare next year. How? Their plans are being heavily subsidized by taxpayers. More from POLITICO:

Lawmakers and staff can breathe easy — their health care tab is not going to soar next year.

The Office of Personnel Management, under heavy pressure from Capitol Hill, will issue a ruling that says the government can continue to make a contribution to the health care premiums of members of Congress and their aides, according to several Hill sources.

A White House official confirmed the deal and said the proposed regulations will be issued next week.

The problem was rooted in the original text of the Affordable Care Act. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) inserted a provision which said members of Congress and their aides must be covered by plans “created” by the law or “offered through an exchange.” Until now, OPM had not said if the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program could contribute premium payments toward plans on the exchange. If payments stopped, lawmakers and aides would have faced thousands of dollars in additional premium payments each year. Under the old system, the government contributed nearly 75 percent of premium payments.
Lets break this down: First, lawmakers on the Hill voted for a terrible bill that a majority of people didn't want. Now three years later, those same lawmakers have exempted themselves from Obamacare rate shock in order to save their own wallets while the rest of America suffers from skyrocketing healthcare premiums. Don't worry though, Nancy Pelosi is reassuring everyone that Congress and their staffs will have to enroll in Obamacare exchanges, they just won't be paying for it.

"Members of Congress and their staffs must enroll in health marketplaces as the Affordable Care Act requires,” she wrote. “As we continue our work to ensure the smooth implementation of this law and look forward to the start of enrollment on October 1st, we will continue our efforts this August to educate consumers on the law’s provisions and tout the critical benefits already in place for millions of Americans.”
Ironically, lawmakers were concerned a jump in premiums for their staff would kill jobs on the Hill.

Obama’s involvement in solving this impasse was unusual, to say the least. But it came after serious griping from both sides of the aisle about the potential of a “brain drain.” The fear, as told by sources in both parties, was that aides would head for more lucrative jobs, spooked by the potential for spiking health premiums.
To make things worse, despite the Obama administration delaying parts of Obamacare for corporations while individuals pay a heavy price for a piece of legislation that isn't ready for primetime, cowards on both sides of aisle don't have the guts to defund the bill in its entirety.

As a reminder, more people than ever want Obamacare repealed and a majority disapprove of the law.

A new CBS News poll finds more Americans than ever want the Affordable Care Act repealed.
Keep working America, Washington is depending on you.
According to the poll, 36 percent of Americans want Congress to expand or keep the health care law while 39 percent want Congress to repeal it - the highest percentage seen in CBS News polls. The poll also found a majority of Americans - 54 percent - disapprove of the health care law, 36 percent of Americans approve of it and 10 percent said they don't know about it.