Congress Is Not Violating Obamacare

1170889_605891392802556_1012052625_n Yesterday, I expressed my concerns that middle-class Americans are going to be harmed by Obamacare.

Today I want to share my opinion about another group of Americans who are taking heat, unfairly, because of Obamacare.

One of the arguments that extremist on the far right are trying to make is that congress has written a law for average Americans but they are not willing to abide by the same law.  They seem to think that members of congress should buy their mandated health insurance through the new health insurance exchanges.

Heaven knows that I have no particular love for politicians.  I find them slippery and beneath contempt.  Never-the-less, they are still Americans.  (Sorry, I choked as I wrote that sentence.)

Even lieing, scheming, bottom-feeders like politicians deserve the truth.  (Although, I am not certain that they would recognize the truth unless a dollar bill was taped to it.)

I saw the graphic above on Facebook last week.  I find it as much propaganda as when B. Obama says that health insurance premiums will be affordable.  To me, both are political lies directed at the ignorant and uninformed.

Nobody would ever accuse me of being a supporter of Obamacare.  I think the entire law is flawed and needs to be redone so that it does not favor one class of American over another.

The confusion arises because of vague interpretations to, what is called, “The Grassley Amendment.”

When the PPACA was being debated, in 2009, Senator Charles Grassley (R -Iowa) offered an amendment to counter one of the arguments that were being made by Obama sycophants.   They said that the exchanges would allow poor, uninsured Americans to get the same health insurance that members of congress get.

The Grassley Amendment was designed to force Democratic members of congress to “put their money where their mouth is” by requiring them, and their staff, to purchase health insurance through the exchange.

Members of congress, and their staffs, are technically federal employees just like all other federal employees.  Under ERISA guidelines, they are entitled to the same health insurance benefits as any other federal employees.  However, as a result of the political passions that Obamacare stirred up in 2009, those rights were waived.

In August of this year, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), issued compromise rules.  In them, the OPM ruled that while members of congress, and their staffs, are required to purchase health insurance through the new health insurance exchanges, the federal government would continue to subsidize their premiums as if they were still covered by the Federal Employee Health Benefit (FEHB) plan.

The rules also provide a loop-hole for members of congress to exempt staff members who come from a state that does not have network providers in the D.C. area in the plans that are available in those state exchanges.  Members of congress have the ability to exempt those staffers from the Grassley Amendment and allow them to continue coverage in the FEHB.

What the compromise does is guarantee that members of congress, and their staffs, cannot claim the tax-credits or subsidies that are offered in the exchanges but it does preserve the employer contribution that every other federal employee enjoys.

Rep. Shelly Caputo (R – WV) has proposed a bill that congressional members, who make over $170,000 each year, would be still required to pay full price for health insurance purchased on the exchanges, without any federal subsidies.

(Keep in mind that this is merely a proposed legislation.  It is not a law until after it has been passed by both houses of congress and signed by the president) 

However, that does not appear to be satisfactory with some people.  The argument that some people are making to require members of congress, and their staffs, to use the new health insurance exchanges without any federal help with their premiums shows that they are screaming about something they do not understand.

Federal ERISA law, which has been part of insurance law since before Nixon resigned, does not require all employers to offer health insurance.  It does, however, require that if an employer does offer benefits, he must treat all employees the same.  If he contributes 50% of the premium for health insurance for one employee, he is required to contribute 50% of the premium for all employees.

The radicals on the right, are asking for congress to ignore federal laws that have existed for close to 40 years for political reasons.


They are just as guilty of letting someone else do their thinking as the Democratic congressmen who allowed Nancy Pelossi to pressure them into voting to pass a flawed senate bill.  (Many of those members of congress no longer have a job.  Looking back on the vote, I wonder if they are still willing to let someone else do their thinking.)


The PPACA clearly states that all people who have health insurance provided by their employers, and their dependents have the option to purchase health insurance through the new health insurance exchanges but they are not eligible for any government programs.

Members of congress are employed by the federal government.  The government subsidizes their health insurance in the same way that any other private sector employer, who offers group health insurance, does.

The people who are requiring members of congress to waive their ERISA rights are telling elected officials that they are not deserving of the same rights as any other employee in America.

In my opinion, it is bad enough that politicians are willing to resort to tricks to pass a controversial law, like the 111th congress did in 2010 with the PPACA.  America does not need right-wing extremists to create a problem where none exists.


It is obvious to me that Obamacare is flawed.  It is also obvious to me that the “train wreck” that Senator Baucus (D) predicted would happen with the implementation of Obamacare this year, is in the process of happening.  Unfortunately, there is nothing that we can do to stop it as long as the current administration is in power.

With the way in which President Obama is handling the exchange roll-out in 2013, America does not need right-wing extremists inventing problems where none exist.  With all the delays and changes the White House has made to Obamacare this year, the administration does not need anyone else’s help to point out the Obamacare is a flawed lay.

Unfortunately, even though the 111th congress used parliamentary tricks to pass the PPACA in 2010, it is the law of the nation.  The only thing that law-abiding Americans can do is obey it and be ready in 2016 to elect a congress and president that will replace this “train wreck” of a law that was passed for political reasons with a law that actually works for all Americans, regardless of their economic status or political allegiances.

I sincerely hope that America only has to put up with this Obamacare nonsense for 3 years.

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