While the real cost of Obamacare remains a huge unknown for millions of Americans, Congress as usual found a way to exempt itself from parts of the threat that could force 535 members and their staff to face the same problems as the rest the nation.
In a glaring example of how the health care “reform” law is riddled with unknown risks, those who work on Capitol Hill found themselves facing loss of healthcare benefits and sharply higher costs for premiums.
The problem came from an amendment to to the 2010 Obamacare program that took the generous Federal Employee Health Benefits Program away from Congressional members and staff and forced them to face the same costs as other Americans.
Republican Senator Charles Grassley, author of the amendment, said that if Obamacare was “good enough” for other Americans it should also be good enough for Congress. Democrats under the influence of Obamacare fervor, joined in and the amendment passed.
Then, as happens all too often, someone took a closer look at what Congress passed and found it contained “unintended consequences” for those on Capitol Hill.
For example, the amendment did nothing to protect the federal contributions that covered 75 percent of the cost of healthcare premiums. This meant members of Congress and their staffs would face the same sharply higher healthcare costs that could be levied on other Americans.
That bought cries and whines from Capitol Hill and action from the Office of Personnel Management, which ruled this week that Congress can be exempted from the same rules that apply to other Americans and said the contributions can continue.
Ironically, that decision brought sharp political rhetoric from Republicans who overlooked the fact that the amendment came from one of their own.
“While the administration has handed out waive after waiver and exemption after exemption for the well-connected in Washington, they have done nothing to lower health care costs for families in Michigan,” cries Dave Camp, the GOP chairman of the House ways and means committee.
What Camp failed to mention was that he was one of those who complained about facing the high costs of Obamacare and asked for the exemption.