Originally published October 10 2013
Fact check: Is it true that Congress has a special sweet deal on health care?
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) When the massive piece of legislation that would later become known as Obamacare first came up for votes, Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa was insistent upon one thing: that members of Congress and their staffs be made to live under the exact same rules and mandates the law would force upon the private sector.
And while that provision made it into the final version of the law, President Obama - unconscionably and unconstitutionally - has rendered the Grassley provision moot.
That's what Obama's political opponents are saying, but is it true? Let's fact-check it.
A 72 percent subsidy
Reporting Oct. 3, The American Spectator noted:
Late Monday evening, the House of Representatives sent a third continuing resolution to the Senate in which they conditioned the continuation of funding on a one-year delay in the Obamacare individual mandate and the reinstatement of Obamacare's provisions that require the members of Congress and their staff to get their health insurance through the exchanges. In a 54-46 party line vote, their third of the evening, the Senate Democrats rejected that continuing resolution, demonstrating their concurrence in an "Obamacare for thee, but not for me" regime.
In case you forgot, Obama has already carved out a one-year exemption for American businesses, again in violation of the law since he doesn't have the authority, even as president, to arbitrarily change a law's provisions.
Nevertheless, he has no intention of delaying it for you, nor does Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who is Obamacare's gatekeeper in that chamber.
Now, if that weren't bad enough, enter what Obama's Office of Management and Budget has done for congressional staff and lawmakers.
More from the Spectator:
In the pre-Obamacare world, members of Congress and their staff could get the same health insurance as other federal employees and a subsidy to help them pay for it as part of their compensation. The Obamacare law, which the Democrats unanimously supported, changed that. It says, in part, that the "only health plans" that members of Congress and their staff can pick are those that are created by the Obamacare law or offered through an exchange. The federal employees' health care program is neither, so the effect is to kick them out of that program.
It's a technicality, but, yeah, Congress has carved out a form of exemption
Technically speaking, the OMB has issued a rule - at the president's urging - to require members of Congress and their staffs to purchase health insurance through the government exchanges, as required by the Obamacare law. But it has done so with a proviso: plans purchased by Congress and staffs will still qualify for the same 72 percent subsidy that they received under the old federal health insurance plan. In other words, yes, they are buying health insurance through the exchanges, but, unlike you, their coverage is being subsidized by American taxpayers, thereby completely undermining the intent and purpose of Grassley's provision.
As the Spectator asks, "[W]hy shouldn't the members of Congress have to live with the laws they impose on the rest of us? They should join us or figure out how to fix things for everyone, not just themselves. OPM's proposed rule just fixes things for a select few."
That's a great point, but you'll have to ask the president of the United States and his gatekeeper Senate majority leader, neither of whom are willing to even consider allowing you a one year waiver so the government can figure out all of the problems associated with Obamacare and find a way to make members of Congress and their staffs comply.
Personally, I'm not confident either will happen. But there you have it.
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