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This is a question Politico has been sort of obsessed with of late. Back in April, they published a story about how Congress was secretly working on a way to exempt themselves from Obamacare, a story that was at best half true. Now they've got another one, warning of a huge defection of staff and members that could be coming because of Obamacare.

Here's the story. Congress is talking about how figure out what to do with itself, and its employees, after it let Sen. Chuck Grassley screw things up. See, Grassley thought he could make Democrats look bad by offering up an amendment to the Affordable Care Act that would force Congress onto the new health exchanges. The plan was, Democrats would reject it and look like hypocrites. Which they did not do. They adopted it.

The problem is, members of Congress and their staff are all employees of a very large employer, the federal government. In their wisdom, they didn't pass a provision to go along with Grassley's amendment to address this single large employer that would be forced onto the exchange. Large employers aren't allowed on the exchanges until 2017, and will only be accepted at that time if the state decides to let them on. But right now, there are no procedures for handling premium contributions for large employers. This means that it's possible the federal government wouldn't pay the employer's portion of health insurance premiums for members of Congress and staff.

This is where the latest Politico starts.

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. [...]

“It’s a reality,” said Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas). “This is the law. … It’s going to hinder our ability with retention of members, it’s going to hinder our ability for members to take care of their families.” He said his fellow lawmakers are having “quiet conversations” about the threat.

But, again, that's just part of the story. The Office of Personnel Management, which oversees benefits for all federal employees, hasn't determined their interpretation of the law yet, and is quite likely to decide that the federal government can continue to pay its part of employee benefits. As of this moment, this isn't a real thing to panic about. But it's a fun Obamacare scare story for Republicans and Politico.

But if it really does happen, just remember, it's all Chuck Grassley's fault.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 12:42 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (41+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 12:42:21 PM PDT

  •  so, having health care is a big deal after all.. (9+ / 0-)

    at least for them, not for the general public.

    I bid them adios, goodbye y buena suerte in their future endeavors as lobbyists, think-tankies or "spending time with their families".

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 12:49:09 PM PDT

  •  So why don't they improve on the law? (7+ / 0-)

    What are these Congressmen and Congresswomen so afraid of?  Just because the Affordable Healthcare Act exists, doesn't mean you can't improve what's already on the books or make modifications to the law.

    These folks are such idiots.  They're in Congress.  They're elected to pass legislation and improve laws so they help improve society.

    •  You mean Obamacare? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG, Joan McCarter, ColoTim, Tonedevil

      I think this is why we wont see any improvement from GOP to ACA.

      Anything that makes the law work better just helps Obama and/or his legacy.

    •  I've mentioned before that one of my (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      deep info

      daughters is involved in the healthcare industry, and she tells me that the changes to the healthcare system in response to Obamacare is what will be the real problem. It might be available to everyone, and it might be cheaper, but the quality of the healthcare will be diminished considerably.

      •  Since I've not seen your past comments (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ET3117, Ahianne, jdld, Tonedevil

        and I didn't particularly notice a diary on this the last couple of years, would you care to share more here?  There are lots of parts of the healthcare system, from the practioners (nurses, clinicians, doctors, and my wife belongs to this category) to the facilities (clinics, hospitals) to the administrators (often in the facilities, but not always) to the insurance companies to big Pharma.  Just which part does she say will be considerably diminished, and why?  Are doctors suddenly going to stop prescribing tests?  From what I'm familiar with, there are a lot of defensive tests ordered now in order to prevent lawsuits, meet obligations for generating revenue, and while most are medically necessary, some aren't and won't reduce the quality of care for not having been performed.  There will also be routine care included, which many people have not had.  Routine care can catch many things before they get serious and result in emergency room visits, so this is a case of the best medicine being the treatment never having to be performed because it was caught early.

        I'm not saying she's wrong, but I'd be interested to hear why she thinks this and if you care to share links either to where she developed her views or to earlier posts, I'll read through them.

        I think ACA can be improved, but I really don't expect the quality of healthcare to "be diminished considerably", even when Cadillac plans are ended by employers for that small percentage that have them.

        •  First, you are not current on your facts: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          splashoil, deep info

          more medical lawsuits are being filed now because of "insufficient care" as opposed to "malpractice." That is a direct result of medical insurance companies offering bonuses to doctors who reduce the number of tests they order.

          Emergency rooms of the future are going to be very different. I can't elaborate on that subject because it might expose the source, which could jeopardize my daughter's position.

          Patient care that was once the responsibility of RNs, is now being shifted to LVNs who will be paid considerably less for the same work.

          RNs will become more responsible for completing paperwork or they will be downsized (all of this is happening now in California). Many RNs are working as LVNs just to survive.

          Most of the doctors you see in the future will be PAs. Doctors will simply oversee the overall picture.

          Those are just a few of the changes.

          •  I didn't say your first paragraph. What I said (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ahianne, jdld, Tonedevil

            was that some tests are ordered to defend against lawsuits and not because they're medically necessary.  That's one of the points that was frequently cited in the run-up to the ACA as to what was driving up medical costs in this country.

            ACA is going to be focusing on outcomes for treatment rather than how many tests are performed, how many drugs are prescribed, how many operations performed, etc.  If a patient is discharged from a hospital but has to come right back in because they weren't ready to go home, the hospital will be penalized because the care wasn't complete.  If Doctor A prescribes 10 tests/patient and Doctor B prescribes 7 tests/patient and their patients are equally healthy, Doctor A will have some sort of encouragement (I don't recall the details) to get costs down.  If Doctor A's patients are healthier (fewer sicknesses or costs) than Doctor B, then even with the extra tests Doctor A will be rewarded and Doctor B will be encouraged to get the quality of his care equal to Doctor A.

            There are lots of long diaries here and long articles elsewhere about the future of healthcare under ACA.  From your comments above, it appears to me that you feel the care will be much worse if you're seen by people with lower levels of training.  Since ACA is going to be focused on overall health and outcomes of treatment, I don't see how your view is supported by how the system is being redesigned.  Your view appears to be fearing what will happen without supportive evidence and while your daughter may concerned about the quality of care provided by LVNs and PA's, I don't think that's what the larger studies used to design ACA show.  And ACA will be encouraging the regular preventive checkups and tests like annual physicals that could catch issues before they get to the level that requires a doctor's attention.

            I think I'm going to have to disagree with your blanket statement - there may be some issues, but I believe they will be far fewer than you seem to believe.  I'm looking forward to the better quality of healthcare for the overall population that is enjoyed by the 30+ countries that have longer life expectancies than the US.  I have no problem with people paying extra if they want extra tests and seeing doctors rather than PA's, but ACA is helping to provide care to 30-40 million more Americans who couldn't qualify for or even afford care up till now, and I see that as being a good thing.  I like the idea that the wait staff and cook who prepares my meals is healthier than without ACA.  I like the idea people get treated for mental health issues.  I don't see, even with your concerns, the quality of my health care diminishing one bit under ACA.

            •  Actually, this isn't correct: (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              deep info
              From your comments above, it appears to me that you feel the care will be much worse if you're seen by people with lower levels of training.
              These aren't my thoughts, they come from a very reliable source at the top of the healthcare industry.
              •  Do you state anywhere that you disagree with (6+ / 0-)

                this source?  You repeat the words, so you give them that attention, with no criticism, so yes, I was accurately assessing your feelings.  I can also understand why someone at the top of the healthcare industry, especially if that person is someone who's in danger of losing lavish bonuses because of the limits on how much can be raked in by those companies in that they have to spend 80% on patient care rather than the current amount which is essentially as little as they can get away with - yes, I can see that person's going to voice his fears and concerns about ACA and convince some others to fear the same things.

                ACA isn't perfect, but it's a lot better, imo, than what we have now.  I want national health care.  I want single payer.  I don't want a pony, and I know those other issues were too big a leap for the corporate powers controlling Congress, but what they did give us is better than what we had.

                •  Jeez. I feel like I'm talking to Chairman Mao. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  deep info, Kentucky Kid

                  The source isn't someone who is going to lose lavish bonuses; he is someone who helps oversee the healthcare industry (someone who will help put ACA into action).

                  The "I don't want a pony" meme is one of the lamest arguments I've seen on this site, but you guys sure don't mind using it anytime you can't argue facts.

                  You asked me for input based on the information I had recieved; I thought you were acting in good faith, but all you wanted to do is discredit what I said.

                  •  You offer no facts to argue/discuss. (5+ / 0-)

                    My wife is an RN and I've worked for Kaiser, so I have direct experience with AHIP.  I can understand your wishing to keep details of your daughter out of your posts - if someone wanted to I'm sure they could figure out who I am from my various posts but I respect anyone trying to maintain some privacy, especially for people other than themselves.  

                    The "I don't want a pony" is to counter those people who believe I'm being ridiculously unrealistic in what kind of health care I want for the country.  The US spends twice as much per resident as the next highest-spending country while insuring only part of the country, with a lower life expectancy (meaning lower quality care, on average) than a few dozen countries - there's no legitimate reason we can't insure all the people of this country and cut costs other than the political will to do so.  Are you one of those who insist the US has the greatest healthcare in the world?  It's great if you have money, insurance and don't have to worry about ever being denied care or having your policy cancelled.  If your facts can't be revealed because they would betray confidences, don't expect me to believe they exist.

                    As for the fellow at the top of the healthcare industry, anyone at that lofty position never has to worry about whether they have healthcare.  They're not out on the open market trying to obtain insurance, likely with pre-existing conditions, they're not worried about how they're going to afford it, and depending upon age, he might be eligible for Medicare and various supplemental insurances.  As a regulator, given the revolving doors, he probably has worked at a high level for one of the health companies - insurance, health provider, pharmaceuticals or similar.  He's made plenty of money (I'd be shocked if he didn't get generous benefits and bonuses when he was in the private sector) and he will never have to worry about paying for health care again.  His point of view is going to be very different from those ACA is aiming to help.  I'm not saying he doesn't mean well, but it seems from experience with regulators in banking, in extractive industries, in pretty much any regulated industry, the regulators favor the industry over the people they're supposed to represent.  Just read the front page post of how Congressional staffers favor corporations over unions and you'll see actual hard numbers of how Congress favors those at the upper end and not the ones who actually are less well-off.

                    If you need examples of what I've talked about here, if you still feel I'm not detailing facts, read DKos, read the articles linked from DKos, and if you still need more, Kosmail me.

                    •  The truth is ColoTim; you have an agenda (0+ / 0-)

                      to push, and you're very in your face offensive about aren't writing to debate the subject; you are writing because you think you have an opinion that is so superior that you don't need to consider anything else.

                      •  whatever. Go be scared. What are you doing on (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Tonedevil, MPociask, Ginny in CO

                        DKos if you're not willing to open your mind and consider things other than what two people have told you in such strict confidence?

                        Take a look in the mirror before you hurl such projections.  Republican much?

                        •  Sorry I wasn't around yesterday (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          CanisMaximus, ColoTim

                          and most of today. I was getting health care!

                          At this point, I'm just going to hope that the ACA gets a lot of GOP legislators and staffers to leave Congress. That would increase and improve the work product many times. :) :)

                          Ok, I just heard the end of a Gov Frackenlooper comment on CBS radio. Sounded like he was saying the fires can't be linked to climate control... Will have to check if it's online.

                          "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                          by Ginny in CO on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 07:07:11 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  And doesn't Congress... (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            GayHillbilly, Ginny in CO

                            ...have a "Cadillac Plan" (more like a Ferrari...) which covers their families as well? If so, then yes, their premiums will go up. however they pay next to nothing NOW and get the finest medical available.

                            So these bourgeois MF's will have to pay a third of their salary for health care if they get sick or hurt?

                            Welcome to the REAL WORLD you self-entitled pieces of shyt!!

                            "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

                            by CanisMaximus on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 07:33:46 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I heard something just in the past few months (0+ / 0-)

                            from my dad's wife that I almost fell out of the chair over. He has VA and Medicare. At 87, he's been quite healthy most of his life. He still builds cabinets for Habitat for Humanity. 88 in Sept.

                            Ellen made a comment that if she (8 years younger) dies before him, his three daughters are going to have to chip in to keep up his medical benefits. I happen to be on a state old age pension, hoping to get approved for SSDI. I was without health insurance for 4 years. 56 - 60, diabetes, sleep apnea, hypothyroid and other issues. Medicaid does not pay for eye or dental care - not even for diabetics. Family history of glaucoma, I was being followed due to increasing pressures when I lost insurance.

                            They were both Peace Corps volunteers (Dad turned 65 in Kenya) but Ellen was then hired as an administrator. (He turned 70 in Kyrgyzstan, rebuilding the Peace Corps building and US Embassy.) It's those Ferrari plan benefits he will lose. They live in a really fancy senior residence in BOULDER, CO.

                            They are actually committed dems, she just has a lot of cognitive dissonance over what that means.

                            "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                            by Ginny in CO on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 09:15:07 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm confused. What "Ferrari benefits" is he (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Ginny in CO

                            going to lose?  Unless it's something to help them live in the senior residence.  He's not going to lose VA and Medicare.

                            Are you saying they're committed dems, but they don't understand what "committed dems" means or what "Ferrari plan benefits" means or just what you're saying.  I like what you write, but this post has me confused.

                          •  No, he couldn't lose VA or Medicare (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            Ellen confirmed she has extra benefits from Peace Corps service that also cover him. No further info on how much or what he would need covered beyond VA and MC. Unless it is the Medicare B supplements most people get. If they hadn't planned on either or both of them being able to afford it, they have no business living in a place that expensive.

                            Canis Maximus had started his comment with this, so I just threw it in.

                            And doesn't Congress..
                            ...have a "Cadillac Plan" (more like a Ferrari...)
                            Unless I have misunderstood, these plans have lower or no deductables, co-pays, may cover more treatments - mental health, reconstructive ('plastic') surgery, etc. Not sure where dental and vision fit in.

                            Ellen is confused about what being a progressive dem means. She has made some really ignorant comments about people in the countries she worked in. Also about 'some immigrants' here.

                            She has an MBA from Wharton and decades of experience. The reason they can live so high is in the 80's they invested the money from the sale of her very expensive house in rental properties. Dad maintained those until they were sold when they went into the Peace Corps. They didn't sell Dad's very above average house until the early 2000's.

                            When it comes to what's been going on with Wall Street, the big banks, Occupy WS, etc, she is clueless. The family thinks she knows a lot about investing, etc. I bite my tongue.

                            "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                            by Ginny in CO on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 02:17:32 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Cadillac plan? (0+ / 0-)

                            Congress has the SAME health coverage as all other federal employees and it's more like a Ford than a Caddy.  All feds pay for health care and the premiums go up every year and so do the co-pays.  Self and family is $400 a month for a decent Premera Blue Cross plan.

                            My sister at Starbucks (white collar), union cousin at Boeing, executive brother-in-law at Microsoft and wife at a state university ALL have much much better benes that I had as a Senate staffer.  

                            Do some research, learn the facts before you spout off opinions.

                          •  I believe what CanisMaximus might be (0+ / 0-)

                            referring to is the "Office of the Attending Physician" where doctors are available for the Congressmen and there are prescriptions available and the fee is only a few hundred bucks a year.  They have terrific care right at work for next to no cost.

                            Link to a 2009 ABC article

                          •  Thank you for clarifying. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Ginny in CO, ColoTim

                            I had indeed conflated the two. The fact remains Congress has access to services that the rest of us can only imagine.

                            "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

                            by CanisMaximus on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 02:19:54 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  As has been noted in several diaries (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            and news, the GOP members are trying find a way to opt out of the ACA.... I have forgotten the particulars but it wasn't just because of their insane hatred of the program.

                            "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                            by Ginny in CO on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 02:50:40 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The plans have a range on (0+ / 0-)

                            the menu from standard to high. Companies like those you cite also will offer the higher end options. One home care agency I worked for had only two basic options. One hospital, other facilities and a health insurance company had more options, with basic to high levels of coverage.

                            Higher levels are significantly more expensive, have lower or no deductables and copays. HMOs (Kaiser,etc.) still tend to have the best prices with lowest or no deductables and copays . Not aware and doubt the elected officials get the Gov to pay any of the extra. Also true they do not pay 'next to nothing' for even basic health insurance. Family coverage is extra, just like the rest of us. They do have the salaries to be able to easily cover the extra themselves. Which I'm sure most staffers don't, any more than the rest of us who are not management, exec, union or state gov.

                            If you really want to talk lousy Fed Gov health insurance, it is the postal workers'. I have had a lot of jobs in different facilities and agencies that involved insurance coverage preauth, and it was very apparent in hospital settings (where I also did some case management.) Unbelievably crappy. Don't know if that is as true now as several years ago but given the retirement funding stupidity, I doubt they could have given it a thought.

                            "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                            by Ginny in CO on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 02:47:24 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  You provide nothing to discuss; you provide (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        no argument or facts. You just repeat the unsupported opinion of people who "know something" according to you.

                        And we are supposed to respect this? A bare assertion from an unknown authority? Really?

                        Help us to save free conscience from the paw Of hireling wolves whose gospel is their maw. ~John Donne

                        by ohiolibrarian on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 08:37:22 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  I thik the life expectency (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      GayHillbilly, ColoTim

                      = worse care is a VERY bad argument given the levels of obesity and violence in this country.  There are studies that suggest that US outcomes are better in things like cancer treatment than anywhere else.

                      The problem though is value for money.  Outcomes for cancer might be better if you have insurance, but this improvement is hardly worth it when you consider that the cost is 2X what other countries are paying.

                      I actually do think that virtually everyone knows there is an enormous problems.  The President of a Hospital knows it because he or she has to write off procedures that they perform because people don't have insurance.  This leads to cost shifting and a whole host of other policies that are bad for everyone - except perhaps for Pharma.

                      •  Life expectancy (0+ / 0-)

                        While we are virtual whales compared to Europeans (though the Brits are catching up) they smoke like chimneys & drink us under the table.  Life expectancy is a excellent measure for populations, what metric do you suggest?

                      •  I'll accept that it's a broad generalization. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        Violence is something that's societal, not really physical health related (though I'll allow for some exceptions).

                        However, the serious obesity problem in this country (including myself here) could be addressed if this country wanted to change where the money emphasis was placed.  If we rewarded health care providers by the health of their patients rather than the number of tests and medicines prescribed, I think we'd see more emphasis on healthy diet and exercise.  I believe if we paid less to encourage corn production for High Fructose Corn Syrup and started perhaps charging a fee for the health care costs that puts onto society, there would be a shift away from increased sugary foods - or at least using that form of sugar to something that might be healthier.  I believe if we put gym classes back in schools and we made more of an effort at emphasizing things like those "Play 60" initiatives, made investments in recreation facilities, perhaps reduced taxes or otherwise subsidized recreation equipment, improved bike routes and similar activities, we could save money on the health care side of the equation from healthier people and longer, productive lives.

                        My generalization about longer lives is a general measure, and when you get into specifics, I would expect on some measures we do well and others we're really worse than other countries.  I'm just tired of people spouting that "We have the best health care in the world" as their generality and that's absolutely not true, in general.

                        •  I am not fat (0+ / 0-)

                          because of the quality or access to health care (both of which are excellent).  

                          I have yet to meet the fat person who isn't VERY aware of the health consequences.

                          I am pretty overweight (though I also run 4 times a week).

                          Why Americans are fat is a really good question to ask - but I don't think it has much to do with single payer health insurance.

                          •  I think it's for multiple reasons. Genetics, (0+ / 0-)

                            changes to lifestyles (more TV, computers and other reasons to be sedentary), more junk food, less education about consequences (I think people may hear being fat is bad, but they don't know really what the consequences are), and I'd be willing to bet there can be additional reasons for why that we don't know yet (maybe not just junk food, but maybe some of the food additives prevent efficient metabolism or some other chemical level interaction).  Whatever it is, Americans as a population are getting fatter and that will contribute to greater health care costs for the country as a whole.  

                            Guess I need to get up off my chair and go out and about rather than just sit here.

      •  Then shut the loopholes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Every time the healthcare system tries to make changes that will make it harder to get better care and for a good price, make sure that Congress (particularly Democrats) shut those loopholes and continue to shut them down until the healthcare system straightens itself out.

    •  Because a vote to improve the law (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Iberian, FG, ColoTim, VClib

      by a Republican means that the Republican is taking ownership of the ACA.  

      The Republicans want the ACA to remain entirely the doing of the Democrats. That way, if the implementation doesn't go smoothly over the next year -- if the cost of insurance goes up for people who already had it, or if people who had insurance lose it -- they will blame it entirely on the Democrats.   That's what they hope will be their message in the 2014 midterms -- the Democrats did this.  

      I think the Democrats, frankly, had their one shot at reforming healthcare, at least for the foreseeable future, when they had the House and Senate.  If things go smoothly, they will be heroes.  If things don't go smoothly, they won't be able to go back to the public and say, "well, we messed up some of it last time, so trust us, this time we'll get it right."

    •  Hopefully Pete will lead the way . . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Out.  If we get enough Republicans to quit maybe we can get the House back.  There's no way that the House is going to do anything to improve the program, even thought it screws their own staff.  

      This problem was understood by people on the Hill from the beginning, but the Republicans won't allow a technical correction.  

  •  should be a lesson in what the word (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deep info

    affordable means to Congress.  If they can't afford it, how does a median income family of four afford it.

    I hope they fail to act and lose their employer share of coverage.

  •  Whoops (7+ / 0-)

    We were told WE would get The same coverage as THEM.  But due to GOP playing politics to try to embarrass Democrats, THEY are getting what we get.  Serves them right.  Let hem learn what it's like to be one of the "public" they supposedly serve.

    •  Except that it's not the members who will suffer. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      With their salaries, they're making enough money that they could pay the full premium with no employer contribution without too much trouble.

      It's the Congressional staffers—the ones who don't make anywhere near as much, and who aren't likely to get a raise anytime soon thanks to the Republicans' craze for cutting federal spending—who would bear the brunt of the suffering, and who would be much more likely to look for an employer outside the federal government as a result.

      That will only result in making public service even less of an option for our best and brightest, unless they've got a substantial outside source of income (i.e., only the children of the rich can afford it).

      That seems to me like the opposite of where we want to go...

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 01:55:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This stings Congress -- (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It ends the Employer payment portion of FEHB for Congress members and Congressional staff -- this does not include the real Federal employees -- those employed by the Executive and Judicial Branches of the government.

        They let it pass...let them eat static...

        •  Congressional staff are real federal employees. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          deep info

          I'm not sure why you think they're not. They work for the federal government and their salaries are paid for by federal tax dollars, just like any executive or judicial branch employee.

          "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

          by JamesGG on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 02:23:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  They no longer represent you. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        "It's the Congressional staffers—who would bear the brunt of the suffering"
        Good, let the younger generation of the GOP suffer and see what their party really stands for.
        Corporate profits over the well being of the citizens.
        They no longer represent you.
        •  You think it would just affect... (0+ / 0-)

          ...Republican Congressional staffers?

          Also, since when did we advocate for cutting people's health benefits simply because they belong to the other political party?

          "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

          by JamesGG on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 06:57:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  A good boss would fix that, though (0+ / 0-)

        Especially if the good boss had access to the purse strings of an organization that can print money.

        It's almost trivial to work out a four-year annual health care bonus, grossed up for taxes, to bridge the gap for Congressional workers so they can buy individual insurance on the exchange.

        It's just as trivial to pass a quick bill that delays the exchange requirement until it actually kicks in for large employers.

        Trivial for a functional Congress, at any rate.

        What will end up happening is that OPM will establish an implementation rule that Congress, by amending the act to require its members staffers to enter the exchanges in 2014, was specially exempting them from the large employer rule.

        It is a basic principle of statutory interpretation that a generally applicable provision does not repeal or replace a more specific one, unless it does so without ambiguity. (Generalia specialibus non derogant). It is also a general principle of statutory interpretation that the legislature does not intend to do absurd things, so there must be a logical reason for its actions.

        And if OPM makes such a determination, the Chevron rule would largely restrict the Courts from deciding otherwise.  

        ad astra per alia porci

        by harrije on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 08:38:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Never going to happen. The legislators get the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      deep info, Tonedevil

      clinic in the actual Capitol to provide most of their healthcare and they have staff to do any paperwork they don't care to have time for, so they won't ever experience what we experience.  Their staff maybe, but they'll still have a much better experience than the average person.

  •  I think its just fine... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leftcoastindie, jdld, deep info

    Most of my working life I was a consultant, and did not receive any benefits, so I am very familiar with paying large sums for half -a**ed healthcare coverage that covered no where near what the big plans do.

    Only I also faced the additional obstacle of trying to find coverage with preexisting conditions, which became almost impossible after a series of moves.

    Now with Obamacare, starting Jan 1 every American (that isn't poor) will be guaranteed (somewhat) affordable coverage that is way cheaper than I payed my entire life.

    Its my hope anyway that the employer based system wither and die.  I'd much rather see people purchase on the exchanges with subsidies.

    I'd be thrilled if my employer would drop coverage and just pay me what he saves so I could use the exchange instead.  That way I can choose my own policy.

    •  I think it's fine (0+ / 0-)

      for the members, not so fine for a lot of their staff, many of whom (particularly in district offices) are not particularly well paid.

      But it's also not something to panic over. Not yet, anyway.

      "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

      by Joan McCarter on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 01:50:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Do you really think... (0+ / 0-)

      ...that the staffers will get a raise if they lose their employer contribution to their health care?

      With this Republican Congress, who never met a federal budget line they didn't want to slash to smithereens?

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 01:57:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well... GOP only wants to slash budgets (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        deep info

        when there is a Democratic president.

      •  Yes, eventually (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The government subsidies are so generous in the ACA that insurance really will be affordable for most.  If an employer drops coverage over a long period of time that will result in higher wages.  One frequently cited cause of wage slides is the huge cost of employer provided health care.

        I just think that the sooner we can wrestle health care away from our employers the better.

        •  That is really not true. (0+ / 0-)

          I've been paying attention to the actual subsidy levels and premium levels being reported.  Individual insurance will still not be affordable for most people.

        •  This isn't about private sector employers. (0+ / 0-)

          It's about the federal government potentially ending the employer contribution for hundreds of Congressional staffers, whose salaries are paid for by our federal tax dollars.

          Given the Republicans' penchant for budget-cutting, do you really think they'll be willing to increase the salaries of all Congressional staff by $6,000 per year or more?

          "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

          by JamesGG on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 08:19:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Its about Congressional staff (0+ / 0-)

            I have wondered for years how the congress critters get health insurance, half of them have enough pre-existing conditions to supply a very small town. Are their medical record red-starred, as in procedure accepted, always?

            Second when are the Dems going to get a decent message out: ACA is to Medicare (government health insurance) what are  to the Constitution. They are both changes and amendments necessary for a changing society.

  •  Well, um, I wonder if Grassley would have to go... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Well of courae they'll leave (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joan McCarter, Ahianne

    It's all because of that provision that says any democrat can deny medical care to any Republican over the age of 55. They know they'll be the first victims of the death panels, so they're getting out while they can.
    No really, it's right there in the bill, Grassley tried to warn people, but to no avail. Remember, as long as you don't have any insurance at all the Democrats can't take it away from you!

  •  Scare story? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mokurai, SuetheRedWA

    Republicans resigning from Congress because of Obamacare?

    Sounds like a fairy tale happy ending to me.

  •  Question: Is this rate hike ONLY for Congress (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ahianne, deep info

    and their staff, or is it for ALL Federal workers?  My mother gets her insurance through OPM from my father.  He worked in the SSA.  Will her rates go up?

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 03:56:34 PM PDT

  •  Too many comments here suppose that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Politico and Pete Sessions have their facts straight, or quote other unreliable or even undentifiable sources. I wouldn't believe the time of day from any of them without independent corroboration.

    This sounds like the Wingers who were posturing about fleeing to Canada or Costa Rica if Obamacare became law and passed Supreme Court review, in order to escape from Fascist tyranny! and the End of Civilization as We Know It, film at 11!

    Except that both Canada, where we got Medicare from, and Costa Rica have national health systems. And none of the ignorant bloviators went anywhere.

    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

    by Mokurai on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 04:31:27 PM PDT

    •  Exactly. Consider the source(s), (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Pete is my Congresscritter, and after his show for the last 18 (?) years I don't trust him as far as I can throw him.

      Let us recall he was until this term the GOP Congressional Campaign Committee Chair - - raising and distributing funds for GOP members and candidates to stay incumbent or to defeat Democratic incumbents or candidates.  No doubt had a hand in keeping your GOP Rep. in office or fighting against your Dem. Rep (for those fortunate of you). A GOP party loyalist extraordinaire.  Pete knows himself some ways around some fundraising and distribution of political favors, firsthand. And propaganda.

      I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

      by tom 47 on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 01:59:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So, does this mean that Chuck's ass (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is Grassley?

    Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

    by Ellen Columbo on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 04:36:34 PM PDT

  •  OH NOEZ! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    “It’s a reality,” said Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas). “This is the law. … It’s going to hinder our ability with retention of members,

    Can I make a suggested list of those who should just quit or retire early?! ;-)

    Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

    by Mannie on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:25:35 PM PDT

  •  I invite all the Rs to say (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, SwedishJewfish

    "so long and thanks for all the money... I mean fish"

    "Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination." - Mark Twain :*Which is odd, because I've never seen I Republican and thought, gee that person looks happy" -me

    by You know me man on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:27:07 PM PDT

  •  Might be an improvement (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, sunbro, pickandshovel

    To clear the deck.

    400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

    by koNko on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:28:59 PM PDT

  •  No Sympathy for them from their Supporters (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, PsychoSavannah, xlntsx

    The one thing that that Conservatives and Progressives are in agreement on is that members of Congress and their staff have way too many lavish benefits compared to the average working American. Their base is going to be happy rather then upset at the prospect of them paying higher premiums and receiving less benefits which is after all what most Americans who are lucky enough to have employee subsidized insurance having been experience for years.

    •  Staff (0+ / 0-)

      What do you consider lavish benefits?  $400 monthly co-pays for medical?  $35 for an office visit? Members and staffers have THE SAME health and retirement benefits as ALL federal civilian workers.  Their ok, but in no way as good as the private sector.  They really only look generous when you consider so many corporations have abandoned their workers.  Do you really want all of the feds (many of whom are minorities) to join the race to the bottom.

      Google it if you don't believe.  Learn your facts and don't just blindly repeat right wing talking points.

      •  Yes that is indeed lavish (0+ / 0-)

        Many people pay much more to be part of an HMO in which they have no choice about where they go or have to pay 100% out of pocket on everything until they hit a high deductible.

        As someone who has to buy my own insurance, I would dance a jig is I had access to a policy like that. Last year I paid $600 a month for zero coverage of anything until I hit $10,500 deductible and that is for a policy in which nobody in my family has any health issues. To buy a policy like the one  you described would have been $1600 a month.

  •  A mass exodus of Tea Party Republicans (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    itskevin, Mannie, PsychoSavannah

    would be great.

    -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

    by sunbro on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:40:09 PM PDT

  •  Alternate headline: (4+ / 0-)

    DC Political Elite Freak Out at Having to Live Like Their Constituents.

  •  Isn't the U.S. healthcare system the best in (5+ / 0-)

    the world? Republicans say it all the time. Surely, alternative arrangements can be easily made.

    One failed attempt at a shoe bomb and we all take off our shoes at the airport. Thirty-one school shootings since Columbine and no change in our regulation of guns. --- John Oliver

    by voroki on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:48:13 PM PDT

  •  The last few words of this essay, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    itskevin, Mannie, RadGal70, GayHillbilly

    "it's all Chuck Grassley's fault," describe lots of what is wrong with Congress now.

  •  Congress (0+ / 0-)

    is in Washington, D.C., which is subject to Federal law, so they might be said to have amended DC law to specify that employees of Congress can get onto the exchanges.  Or perhaps not.

    Restore the Fourth! Save America!

    by phillies on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:50:47 PM PDT

  •  2 things... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, RadGal70
    "It’s a reality,” said Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas). “This is the law. … It’s going to hinder our ability with retention of members, it’s going to hinder our ability for members to take care of their families.” He said his fellow lawmakers are having “quiet conversations” about the threat.
    1) As if you thieves & grifters in Washington actually have to pay your own health care.  The corporations that own you provide you the best healthcare on the planet, for free.  Take that shit to Fixed News.  The rest of us with an I.Q. above 50 are well aware your healthcare deals are just part of your customary bribery packages.

    2) And stop with the tearful eulogy about what is going to be hindered.

    You worthless assholes have been a grave hindrance to this country for the past 30 years.  Boo fucking hoo somebody is suddenly" hindering" your Washington D.C. rackets.

    To any Republican reading this, I request you write a diary about why Republicans are such assholes. I promise to tip & recommend such a diary.

    by wyvern on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 07:01:47 PM PDT

  •  Cry me a river. Is there anyone out there (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PsychoSavannah, Mannie, dfarrah, xlntsx

    who really gives a shit about Congress people's healthcare?

    They had a Cadillac plan that you and I paid for.  Grassley threw away a plan they never should have had to begin with for political brownie points.

    You want to start with fairness, start with every member of congress having to get their healthcare like the rest of their constituency.  That should exclude care while on the job that no other federal employee gets.  This is a benefit that most are not aware of.  

    Hey, call the emergency room.  They will treat you for free, the Republican way.  Good luck.

    Sequestration anyone?  It should hit these idiots hard and first.

    In the time it took Adam Lanza to reload, eleven children escaped. What if...

    by Sixty Something on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 07:26:02 PM PDT

    •  Yeah, one can only (0+ / 0-)

      hope that alot of them, dems and repubs alike, would resign.

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 08:03:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  the irony (0+ / 0-)

      of Congressional Dung-Beetles complaining about the change to their Cadillac health care plan - which incidentally is not only single payer, but almost completely funded by "we the tax-payers" - boggles my mind.  The fact that they "might" have to start dealing as the rest of us will is somehow supposed to make me feel sorry for them?

      Nope, as the cat-food commission guy noted, too many have been on the teat of government too long.  Well, yes - these folks have been.

      Welcome to the non-Beltway world!

      In actuality, whatever it is they seem to be smoking inside the beltway - I sure like to get my hands on some of it ....I'm just saying....  

  •  Thank you, Joan for your continuing coverage (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GayHillbilly, Chas 981

    of news on the health care front.  Many of us appreciate your committment and interesting diaries.  I personally think we need new blood in the Congress so if any want out, I say go!

    This is off topic but the ACA won a significant victory yesterday in Michigan when many Republican State House members reversed themselves and supported Medicaid expansion.  It passed by a large margin and will be taken up by the State Senate next week.      

  •  Congressional six figure salaries (0+ / 0-)

    for "part time" work - just don't go as far as they used to.

    While most of us have to make do on low five figures - cry me a river.

    “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ... Voltaire

    by RUNDOWN on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 08:21:26 PM PDT

  •  Given that so many current staffers (0+ / 0-)

    just love them some business lobbyists may I say ...
    good riddance.

    Help us to save free conscience from the paw Of hireling wolves whose gospel is their maw. ~John Donne

    by ohiolibrarian on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 08:25:25 PM PDT

  •  Go Galt. (0+ / 0-)

    No, really, just Go Galt.  You won't be missed.

    9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

    by varro on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 08:49:56 PM PDT

  •  Grassley Was Right!!! (0+ / 0-)

    Senator Ferret-Fac, uh, Grassley, created a "death-panel" for Congress's ultra-premium health care? HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa!!!!

  •  real cost (0+ / 0-)

    Any one have an idea what members of congress and their staffers actually pay for health insurance every month and how the coverage is?  I would love to know how it compares to what I pay every month and what my coverage is.  I guess I just want to know if their complaining is legitimate or if we should be sending them a card and saying welcome to the party, we missed you.

    •  From factcheck: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chas 981

      Right now, Congressional representatives, aides, and staffers have about 75% of their health insurance premiums paid.  House and Senate members are allowed to purchase private health insurance offered through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

       FEHBP offers about 300 different private health care plans, including five government-wide, fee-for-service plans and many regional health maintenance organization (HMO) plans, plus high-deductible, tax-advantaged plans. All plans cover hospital, surgical and physician services, and mental health services, prescription drugs and “catastrophic” coverage against very large medical expenses. There are no waiting periods for coverage when new employees are hired, and there are no exclusions for preexisting conditions....

      More on the boondoggle here.

      It all makes my eyes glaze over.

      •  Thanks for the reference. /nt (0+ / 0-)
      •  Here are the facts (0+ / 0-)

        Instead of joining the chorus government bashers at Fox try exposing yourself to facts before you spout off.

        Members of Congress have good health insurance by any standard, but it’s not free and not reserved only for them – and it’s not government insurance. House and Senate members are allowed to purchase private health insurance offered through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, which covers more than 8 million other federal employees, retirees and their families.

        It’s not a “single-payer” system where the government acts as the one and only health insurance company.

        Like other large employers, the government pays a large share of the cost of coverage. On average, the government pays 72 percent of the premiums for its workers, up to a maximum of 75 percent depending on the policy chosen. For example, the popular Blue Cross and Blue Shield standard fee-for-service family plan carries a total premium of $1,327.80 per month, of which the beneficiary pays $430.04. Washington, D.C.-based employees who prefer an HMO option might choose the Kaiser standard family plan. It carries a total premium of $825.15 per month, of which the employee pays only $206.29.

        •  Who (0+ / 0-)

          peed in your All Bran today, sja?

          •  Facts are funny things (0+ / 0-)

            I just get pissed off at people, especially progressives who should know better, who repeat government bashing nonsense based on "truthiness".  

            There is a real effort in this country to cut workers benefits.  One way to do that is to point to workers, like government employees and union members who have successfully fought for decent benefits, and exaggerate said benefits or to complain "They have it better than me".  Corporations aren't going to hand you anything for free.  They sure as hell aren't going to give you goodies after you help them take away mine.  You need to fight for your benefits like we did.

  •  It doesn't appear that (0+ / 0-)

    Sessions' fellow lawmakers are having “quiet conversations” about the threat at all, if they're having that in the offices of Politico stenographers.

  •  Geez, at least call it "ObamaRomneyCare"... n/t (0+ / 0-)

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Randian Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of West Dakota!"

    by unclebucky on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 09:32:07 AM PDT

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