Humble Public Servants

Lawmakers, aides may get Obamacare Exemption

Because all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

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  • Mike

    HA HA, you can’t make this stuff up. I also heard that a bunch of well placed restaurants and boutique hotels got exemptions in California. Indeed, all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.

  • Bob
    • vox borealis

      From the article: This isn’t, in other words, an effort to flee Obamacare. It’s an effort to fix a drafting error that prevents the federal government from paying into insurance exchanges on behalf of congressional staffers who got caught up in a political controversy.

      And this is much better?

      • Bob

        Well, yeah. No one is saying that the legislative process of passing Obamacare wasn’t sausage-making at its ugliest, but the Politico article says Congress is trying to “exempt itself” from Obamacare, and that’s really not true. If you get your health insurance at an employer with more than 50 workers, you won’t be subject to those insurance exchanges (you’re literally banned from them) UNLESS you are member of Congress or a Congressional staffer. Then you’re forced into them. And even THAT would be fine as long as their employer (the gummint) can continue to subsidize their insurance premiums at the same level as before.

    • Irenist

      I agree with the take in the Wonkblog post you linked. (But then, I would, wouldn’t I?)

      Requiring Congress to purchase insurance through the exchanges was a stunt from the G.O.P. to try to shame Democrats. When the Dems called their bluff and put it in the bill, the provision was (as might be expected from a stunt), poorly drafted.

      This is a pseudo-scandal.

      • ivan_the_mad

        You would!!! … That is all ;)

        • Irenist

          Well played, Ivan.

          BTW: Y’know what’s a real scandal? That Congress is so quick to spare the jet set from sequester-induced inconvenience, but can’t be bothered to reverse cuts to any other programs–for the poor, for the adequate (i.e., safe) staffing of law enforcement agencies, etc.

          • ivan_the_mad

            You’re right on that, which reminds me of a quote of once-VP H. Humphrey: “The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped.” It’s a scandal regardless of which side of the aisle you find your seat.

  • Hilarious Results

    What this demonstrates is who is the pig and who is another species.

  • Mike

    It doesn’t matter; EVERYONE is going to pay more and by everyone I of course mean the middle class – get ready for a sizable increase in the cost of healthcare. But it will be extended to more people who otherwise wouldn’t have gotten themselves insured or wouldn’t have been able to afford to.

    Whether this is the best way to accomplish universal basic hcare, I don’t know; it seems it isn’t but we’ll see. But as a Catholic I think basic medical care should available to everyone. Not that everyone should be forced to get it but it should be available to everyone no matter how poor.

    • Dan F.

      based on current law (prior to Obamacare), basic medical care was available to everyone regardless of ability to pay – what wasn’t available before was health insurance and some pharmaceuticals.

      • Mike

        Oh, ok I don’t know enough about the US system to know whether it does or does not. Dems ususally say it is the worst system on earth and Rep. say it is the best. All I know is that even in France and Holland you can buy private insurance for certain things. So, a mix is probably best. Oh and I don’t understand why forcing people who are healthy to buy insurance is just. It seems to me to be a bad way of trying to accomplish something that seems good.

  • AnneG

    The poor have good health care through Medicaid. also, anybody can walk into any ER and get care. The ones who get stung are the middle class and working poor. They have too much for aid and can’t afford insurance, mostly because of govt interference.

    • Jenny

      AnneG, every thing you’ve written here is wrong.

      First, you can’t just waltz into an ER and “get care.” The Federal law you are referring to is EMTALA and it only guarantees treatment for emergency treatments. For non-emergency issues (as decided by the ER), an ER can require up front payment before treating. See

      Second, it’s debatable whether Medicare is “good health care” and “the poor” are not guaranteed access to Medicaid. I think you’d be surprised at how difficult it is for “the poor” to qualify for Medicaid.

      Third, can you please explain why “govt interference” makes health insurance too expensive for the middle class? The issue isn’t so much the cost but rather the difficulty of being approved for coverage and what is actually covered.

      • AnneG

        Jenny, Sorry, I know a lot more about Medicare than you think. You go to an ER for an earache. You can’t pay, they work lots out, including billing off, sending you to a clinic, Catholic hospital, but you get care. We give away lots of care. Medicaid, you just have to work the system and be persistent.
        Kaiser is one of the biggest proponents of rationed care. They do not offer the best care options as they are too expensive. You get mediocre care and old medications and treatments. They are also one of the biggest drivers behind Obamacare because they stand to make a fortune.
        Govt interference like requiring psychiatric, mental health, maternity or contraceptives in a plan. There should be and are some catastrophic insurance plans where you pay for other stuff out of pocket. Getting the govt more involved is going to drastically increase costs, cover things that are not health care like abortion and sex changes and categorize care according to a table where the most productive, 15 to 50 year olds get the best care while others get diminishing levels, depending on status. Add in the aging population and you can see the problem. I’ve lived in a very civilized country with a single payer and seen how it works. Not what I want. But, you probably do, even though everybody now sees that bill as a train wreck.

        • Jenny

          AnneG, there is a difference between the Kaiser Foundation and the Kaiser insurance company.

          You can go to an ER for an earache but under EMTALA an ER is not required to admit you and can require that you pay up front. Citing anecdotal evidence that some ERs do provide basic care does not prove that everyone in the US has access to healthcare.

          It’s pretty clear you don’t know half of what you think you do…including what I want.

          • AnneG

            Sorry, Jenny, I’ve seen thousands of dollars of health care given away to people who couldn’t or wouldn’t pay. About you, I said probably. If the govt wasn’t so involved in delivering health care even more would be given away like it used to be. Govt regulations prohibit even giving discounts if you don’t give the same discount to Medicare.
            Btw, you may think Kaiser Found is different from Kaiser Health Care, but check again. Very incestuous relationship. I just wish you weren’t so defensive and angry because I disagree with you. There are lots of ways to deal with problems, most of which would be solved by a moral, self-disciplined populace. In that case any system would work.

  • Jenny

    While I think there are plenty of things wrong with the ACA, I don’ t understand the fear about being forced into an “Obamacare” plan. The plans that are going to be offered through the exchange are not bad plans. In fact, they will be much better than most individual policies available today and even better than what some get through their employer. For example, look at the benchmark plan selected by the State of Illinois ( I would certainly not object to being forced to have a policy like this and, in fact, there is no way that I could be eligible for this plan today.

    The Kaiser Foundation has an excellent website that provides tremendous detail about how the exchanges will work in each state. See

    • Theodore Seeber

      I don’t see anything on either of those sites about what the premium rate will be. If the scare mongers are correct and the *cheapest* bronze level plan in these exchanges is $20,000/year, then the law will be a failure.

      • Jenny

        Most people who go into the exchanges to purchase plans will qualify for subsidies. The Kaiser link explains how the subsidies will work and who will be eligible for them. Under the ACA if you are eligible for a subsidy, the maximum percent of your earnings that you have to pay for premiums is 9.5%.

  • Joe

    “There is concern in some quarters that the provision requiring lawmakers
    and staffers to join the exchanges, if it isn’t revised, could lead to a
    “brain drain” on Capitol Hill, as several sources close to the talks
    put it.”

    How can you drain what doesn’t exist?