Should Congress Buy Health Insurance From Exchanges?

Capitol 2Those of you who regularly read this blog know that I am not a huge fan of the Patients Protection and Affordable Care Act.

My objection is not because I am heartless.  I do not want the uninsured and under-insured to go without the insurance they need.

I know that something had to be done.  I am just not convinced that Obamacare is the answer.

I have read and reread the legislation.  It has many good things in it.  I do not believe that the entire legislation needs to be scrapped.

Unfortunately, it also has a couple of characteristics that I do not like.  The PPACA…

  • Cedes Legislative power to the Executive branch of government (Specifically the unelected Secretary of Health and Human Services.)
  • Mandates that all Americans must buy a government approved health insurance policy or pay a “penalty.”
  • The PPACA severely caps the earning potential of the insurance industry that pays for medical bills but barely slaps the wrist of health care providers abilities to earn profits.

While studying this past weekend, I learned that there is an attempt in the halls of congress, by the Democrats, to repeal a portion of the law.  (I am used to Republican politicians screaming about “Obamacare” for political reasons.  My ears perk up when I hear that the Democrats are looking to change something they forced on America.)

When the PPACA was passed, on partisan lines in the Senate, an amendment was included to require members of congress and their staffs to participate in the same health insurance exchanges that they are forcing on American citizens.

The amendment was introduced by Iowa Senator, Charles Grassley.  When this amendment was introduced it was obvious that the Democratically controlled Senate was going to force this bill through regardless of the desires and arguments from anyone who opposed it.

Although this amendment is only “fine print,”  it was added in an attempt to make certain that the Senate did not use their power to create a double standard.

Grassley was obviously concerned that the Senate would create one law for America and another for congress.  This amendment was allowed because more than 60 Senators understood the political consequences of appearing to force one thing on all of America but excluding themselves.

In order to get the PPACA passed out of the Senate, and to mitigate political consequences during an election year, the amendment was allowed.

That happened in late 2009.  Now that it is early 2013 and the PPACA has been turned from a bill into a law, the same senators who saw the logic behind requiring members of congress to use the same system they forced on the rest of America are having second thoughts.

Now that the new health insurance exchanges are about to go live in October, there is a movement in the Senate to repeal the requirement for members of congress to buy their health insurance through the same exchanges they have forced on Americans who have no other health insurance options.

An article from the Washington Post does a better job describing what is happening in D.C.  If you want to learn more, take the time to click on that link.

In my opinion this action by Democratic senators is “much ado about nothing.”  It does not make any difference to me whether they buy their insurance through an exchange, directly from an insurance company or from a booth on the moon.   I think the “filthy rich” have just as much right to good health care as the “filthy poor.”

What this proves to me is that the PPACA has nothing to do with our national leaders being concerned about the health care needs of Americans.  The entire Health Care Reform debate has been about political power.



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