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Do you think that Ovomitcare will be fixed? I dont... Obama care is fine when your premiums soar but when it hits home to the congress ... AHHHHH then it is worth looking at. Staffers are ready to say BYE we are out of here.. to expensive

iamnothere 2013/06/13 13:20:29

Obamacare? We were just leaving …

Pete Sessions said lawmakers are having 'quiet conversations' about the threat.
By ANNA PALMER and JAKE SHERMAN | 6/13/13

Dozens of lawmakers and aides are so afraid that their health insurance premiums will skyrocket next year thanks to Obamacare that they are thinking about retiring early or just quitting.

The fear: Government-subsidized premiums will disappear at the end of the year under a provision in the health care law that nudges aides and lawmakers onto the government health care exchanges, which could make their benefits exorbitantly expensive.

Democratic and Republican leaders are taking the issue seriously, but first they need more specifics from the Office of Personnel Management on how the new rule should take effect — a decision that Capitol Hill sources expect by fall, at the latest. The administration has clammed up in advance of a ruling, sources on both sides of the aisle said.

If the issue isn’t resolved, and massive numbers of lawmakers and aides bolt, many on Capitol Hill fear it could lead to a brain drain just as Congress tackles a slew of weighty issues — like fights over the Tax Code and immigration reform.

The problem is far more acute in the House, where lawmakers and aides are generally younger and less wealthy. Sources said several aides have already given lawmakers notice that they’ll be leaving over concerns about Obamacare. Republican and Democratic lawmakers said the chatter about retiring now, to remain on the current health care plan, is constant.

Rep. John Larson, a Connecticut Democrat in leadership when the law passed, said he thinks the problem will be resolved.

“If not, I think we should begin an immediate amicus brief to say, ‘Listen this is simply not fair to these employees,’” Larson told POLITICO. “They are federal employees.”

Republicans, never a fan of Democratic health care reform, are more vocal about the potential adverse effects of the provision.

“It’s a reality,” said Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas). “This is the law. … It’s going to hinder our ability with retention of members, it’s going to hinder our ability for members to take care of their families.” He said his fellow lawmakers are having “quiet conversations” about the threat.

Alabama Rep. Jo Bonner said the threat is already real, especially for veteran lawmakers and staff. If they leave this year, they think they can continue to be covered under the current health care plan.

“I’ve lost one staffer who told me in confidence that he had been here for a number of years and the thought of losing the opportunity to keep his health insurance on Dec. 31 [forced him to leave]. He could keep what he had and on Jan. 1 he would go into that big black hole,” said Bonner, who had already planned his resignation from Congress. “And then I’ve got another staff member that I think it will be a factor as she’s contemplating her future.”

Lawmakers and aides on both sides of the aisle are acutely aware of the problems with the provision. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have discussed fixes to the provision. Boehner, according to House GOP sources, believes that Reid must take the lead on crafting a solution. Since Republicans opposed the bill, Boehner does not feel responsible to lead the effort to make changes.

The Affordable Care Act — signed into law in 2010 — contained a provision known as the Grassley Amendment, which said the government can only offer members of Congress and their staff plans that are “created” in the bill or “offered through an exchange” — unless the bill is amended.

Currently, aides and lawmakers receive their health care under the generous Federal Employee Health Benefits Program. The government subsidizes upward of 75 percent of the premiums for the health insurance plans. In 2014, most Capitol Hill aides and lawmakers are expected to be put onto the exchanges, and there has been no guidance whether the government will subsidize those premiums. This is expected to cause a steep spike in health insurance costs.

There have been many options for fixing the problem discussed throughout the year, including administrative fixes and legislative tweaks. One scenario seen as likely on Capitol Hill would have OPM simply decide that the government could still subsidize insurance on the exchanges.

House Democratic leadership says the issue must be resolved.

“The leadership has assured members that fixing this issue is a top priority,” said one Democratic leadership aide. “This issue must be fixed by administrative action in order that the flawed Grassley Amendment’s spirit is honored and all staff and members are treated the same.”

It could be politically difficult to change this provision. The provision was put in the bill in the first place on the theory that if Congress was going to make the country live under the provisions of Obamacare, the members and staff should have to as well.

The uncertainty has created a growing furor on Capitol Hill with aides young and old worried about skyrocketing health care premiums cutting deeply into their already small paychecks. Some longtime aides and members of Congress, who previously had government subsidized health care for life, are concerned that their premiums will now come out of their pension.

If their fears are borne out, the results could be twofold. Some junior staff will head for the private sector early while more seasoned aides and lawmakers could leave before the end of the year so they can continue under the old plan.

Several lawmakers said departures could run the gamut from low-level staff to legislative aides, to senior aides and lawmakers. Capitol Hill is an attractive workplace for politically ambitious college graduates, but a core of Capitol Hill aides stick around for decades, serving as institutional knowledge, and earning prized retirement packages.

OPM, which administers benefits for federal employees, is expected to rule in the coming months on how congressional health care is to be administered.

OPM did not respond to a request for comment.

More than a dozen senior aides interviewed by POLITICO about the issue declined to be named out of fear for future job prospects. The problem is most acutely felt at the staff level, where aides make between $35,000 and roughly $170,000 and budgetary problems have all but stopped pay increases and bonuses. Lawmakers have questioned leadership aides about the future of their health care.

“Between the constant uncertainty surrounding sequestration, and the likelihood aides will soon be paying for the subsidy portion of their health care coverage, congressional office budgets are being squeezed once again, and it’s causing a lot of concern amongst chiefs of staff regarding how to best handle the situation,” said one chief of staff to a senior Democratic member of the House. “Do we give raises to junior level aides so they can afford to pay for their higher health care costs, and if so, where do we find the funds to do so? Additionally, leadership has been relatively silent in terms of providing guidance to offices, which is frustrating.”

There are other ways that aides can fully avoid this problem. If they’re married, they can join their spouse’s health care plan. If they are 65, they can go on Medicare.

But the focus right now is centered on lawmakers trying to figure out how to offset potential increases in premiums.

“I know other members are doing the same thing in terms of what we can do to offset [premiums],” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said. “You are particularly limited now because of course we’ve had the cuts in the [member office allowances] on top of this. You just don’t have a lot of options.”

Cole added, “A lot of the staff stays on largely because of the benefit levels and particularly if you’ve got people with families and it’s extraordinarily important to them … it’s just not right.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/06/obamacare-lawmakers-hea...

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Top Opinion

  • PoliticallyIncorrect 2013/06/13 13:59:35 (edited)
    PoliticallyIncorrect
    +7
    No death panels either, huh? If it weren't for public outrage, two children would be dead or dying because they could not get on the lung transparent list as severe cases just because of their ages. Sibelius and Obama want to be gods, delivering life or death to the minions of America. Two more smug, arrogant, as worthless people in government, they prove daily that they have no business making decisions for Americans. Neither one of them have a lick of sense. One is just stupid, the other is trying to destroy America. Yeah Obamacare is for the likes of them.

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  • bunchesoffluff2 2013/07/02 22:43:56
  • robert 2013/06/30 02:25:35
    robert
    +1
    Everything that has Obamas support behind it has been a travesty, that's why everyone needs to call their congress people about the immigration bill that Obama wrote lock stock and barrel !!
  • sglmom 2013/06/30 02:24:53
    sglmom
    +1
    Will it be 'fixed'?
    THAT is a NO for sure ..
    (nope .. now why exactly did folks not listen when we were explaining all the problems with the TriCare and the Medicare systems?)
    Will the Politics Staff care one bit about the issues at all ?
    (NOPE .. doesn't affect them at all .. period)
    The reality is ..
    PREMIUMS will go up and have gone up ..
    co-pays/deductibles, and out of pocket costs are rising
    there's less coverage ..
    there's less reimbursed ..
    less pre-authorizations ..
    and yes, this will be a horror unfolding ..
  • stevmackey 2013/06/14 02:43:53
    stevmackey
    +3
    It will not work.
  • Elaine Magliacane 2013/06/13 22:48:29
    Elaine Magliacane
    +3
    One way to reduce the size of government... lol
  • iamnothere Elaine ... 2013/06/13 23:05:34
    iamnothere
    +1
    yes but not fast enough.. one wonders if this will fall out to the other departments in the government
  • Torchmanner ~PWCM~JLA 2013/06/13 18:36:48
    Torchmanner ~PWCM~JLA
    +3
    Our rates already went up BECAUSE of obaaaama care. This will only get worse.
  • Concerned Citizen 2013/06/13 17:38:23
    Concerned Citizen
    +5
    Sooner or later,.....all Americans will be screwed in some way by obamacare.

  • Diane Spraggs Yates 2013/06/13 15:46:25
    Diane Spraggs Yates
    +4
    I heard congress was going to opt out of Obama care their INSURANCE rates were sky rocketing----Wish we could opt out !!!!!!
  • mind-pilot 2013/06/13 15:45:31
    mind-pilot
    I believe the single payer program will need to be instituted. It's worked in the past. VA. Medicare.Social Security. It's the fraud we need to eliminate.
    After 18 months of private insurance and a catastophic illines in the household I find the fraud and double billing and confusion over the practices is so rampant it's understood that private business can't conduct themselves properly to maintain a good health standard and the billions of dollars of profits off of people's illness's. $80.00 aspirin? Oh, please.
    A friend of mine pointed out "even friggen Brazil has a health plan that doesn't throw the sick into bankruptcy". The stupid idea of the "emergency room" safety net is absurd. And, as a republican, I'm sure Nixon had a great plan but the corrupt insurance industry suppressed it.
    If a 3rd world country can do it I would think the most sophisticated country in the world could get the job done better than the current, corrupt, "sickness for profit" insurance companies can do. Have you watched the news lately about chains of hospitals overcharging and making obscene profits off of peoples disadvanages?
    The insurance industry can go after fire insurance, home insurance, car insurance and more. There's plenty of insurances they can gouge. They really don't need to drive t...
    I believe the single payer program will need to be instituted. It's worked in the past. VA. Medicare.Social Security. It's the fraud we need to eliminate.
    After 18 months of private insurance and a catastophic illines in the household I find the fraud and double billing and confusion over the practices is so rampant it's understood that private business can't conduct themselves properly to maintain a good health standard and the billions of dollars of profits off of people's illness's. $80.00 aspirin? Oh, please.
    A friend of mine pointed out "even friggen Brazil has a health plan that doesn't throw the sick into bankruptcy". The stupid idea of the "emergency room" safety net is absurd. And, as a republican, I'm sure Nixon had a great plan but the corrupt insurance industry suppressed it.
    If a 3rd world country can do it I would think the most sophisticated country in the world could get the job done better than the current, corrupt, "sickness for profit" insurance companies can do. Have you watched the news lately about chains of hospitals overcharging and making obscene profits off of peoples disadvanages?
    The insurance industry can go after fire insurance, home insurance, car insurance and more. There's plenty of insurances they can gouge. They really don't need to drive the prices up in order to make their profits off of uninsured and insured illness's.
    Single payer should help stabalize this economy, help stop fraud and put people back to work and out of the bankruptcy courts. They'll be able to buy cars, clothes, food.
    (more)
  • iamnothere mind-pilot 2013/06/13 15:59:01
    iamnothere
    +2
    communist
  • mind-pilot iamnothere 2013/06/13 16:12:33
    mind-pilot
    I really hate to wish it upon you too. But, ever since the 80's when they turned sickness into profit centers the increase of bankruptcies ( we all get to pay for) is staggering. The health care costs are staggering. The inability to find jobs is threatening. Andy the system is so medically fraudulent it's obscene. And, if you've not been it it yet, watch out.
    In the 70's my kids cost me $400 a piece when they were born. No complications. The mother stayed in the hospital 2 and 1/2 days and all was well.
    My kids, had their kids in the hospital in the late 90's and early 2000's and there were no complications. The mother stayed in the hospital 1 day and each child cost $4,000.00
    Now, it's just a simple, damn pregnancy. But $4,000 a child? Oh come now. It ain't communist to overcharge? It's criminal! Imagine an illness. You will find out.
    Watch out. Your private insurance ain't that good. I really hate to wish it upon you.
  • iamnothere mind-pilot 2013/06/13 23:07:34
    iamnothere
    +1
    sounds like the cost in relative dollars stayed the same .. The Fed has devalued the dollar so that this is the result..
  • mind-pilot iamnothere 2013/06/13 23:25:24
    mind-pilot
    Sorry. But nice try. A childbirth, without complications. Without cesarian doesn't jump from $400 to $4,000 in 20 years. It just doesn't happen. There is no new and improved pregnancy. The baby is still the baby. The system went "high profit".
    Besides, the .80cent aspirin of the 70's ( cost was about .1cent) didn't jump to $80.00 today( cost about .10cents). That's pure, rip-off profit.
    But, nice try. Way out of whack. But still way out.
  • iamnothere mind-pilot 2013/06/14 11:21:37
    iamnothere
    A dollar in 1970 gold was $32 in 2013 is now $1500 the purchasing power has gone down..

    Since the active ingredients in drugs are so small your comment about aspirin is dumb.. go look .. back in in 1970 your aspirin was about 15 cents now it is 2.50
  • mind-pilot iamnothere 2013/06/14 15:47:12
    mind-pilot
    Using your math the $40,000 I made in the 70's should equal $400,000 now for the same line of work. That aint so.
    Doesn't work. Asprin was a penny and a shot of pennicillian(sp) cost about .15 cents to make and charged $15.00. Not like today.
    Give 'em excuses if you want. But make sense when you do it.
  • iamnothere mind-pilot 2013/06/15 09:20:18
    iamnothere
    +1
    you can always find some items that you can show have not kept up with inflation.. but you have to use like items .. made by the same manufacturer.. Remember aspirin and penicillin are now manufactured as generics so the costs have gone down..

    One has to keep constant dollars and has to keep identical products.

    That is why we see an auto that was 3000 in 1970 is now 40000 today..
    For instance a mustang was indeed $3000 in 1970 loaded.. today???

    http://www.ford.com/cars/must...

    $42,000 big ones.. so your argument does leave much to be desired.
  • mind-pilot iamnothere 2013/06/15 16:05:54
    mind-pilot
    The equiptment on today's cars/trucks is totally different than the past.Thus the pricing is not inflationary. So your argument does leave much to be desired.
    The Mustang of 1970 does not, in any way, resemble the Mustangs today. Fuel injection, engine size,safety, performance etc.etc.etc.
    Bayer still manufacturers aspirin. But $80? Current hospital price? Not inflationary. Greedy, maybe.
  • iamnothere mind-pilot 2013/06/15 16:09:28
    iamnothere
    +1
    sure it does.. body .. is now unibody// but parts are basically the same. Engines.. other than electronics.. the basic workings are identical.

    current prices in a hospital are over 5 for aspirin.. having to pay for the illegals
  • mind-pilot iamnothere 2013/06/15 16:16:51
    mind-pilot
    Not the same cars. Not the same brakes. Not the same electronics. Not the same safety ( airbags, alone cost approximately $900 a piece and there are 6....about $5400 in air bags alone. Higher than the car was in 1970).
    The illegals are the problem. So are the mooches that use the emergency room and don't pay.
  • iamnothere mind-pilot 2013/06/15 16:20:54
    iamnothere
    +1
    my point is the value of money has dropped .. you can say no it has not.. but it has..
  • mind-pilot iamnothere 2013/06/15 16:46:11
    mind-pilot
    I realize things are adjusted for inflation. But, greed,deciet, fraud, faulty bookeeping isn't an adjustment. A $400 hospital birth in 1970 does not equate to the current $4,000 hospital birth of the same kind. It's just having a baby. No new and improved procedures for a problem free birth.
    Cars are new and improved, though.
  • iamnothere mind-pilot 2013/06/16 14:34:33
    iamnothere
    +1
    using your hospital as an ajustment.. it is amazing that the hospitals do not charge 5 times as much just to offset all of the "free" care given to illegals
  • mind-pilot iamnothere 2013/06/16 17:53:58
    mind-pilot
    And, yet, they pay for all those illegals. Bill our insurances and the CEO's still make $500 million a year, when $80 million a year is totally sufficient.
    There's too much fraud in our current system. I pay $1200 a month for just my wife and I , alone. I don't like people who don't have insurance and I don't like CEO's profiting so outrageously off of peoples illness's or deaths.
    I know I'm right. We're the only sophisticated nation in the world that is 3rd world when it comes to health coverage and hospitalization
  • iamnothere mind-pilot 2013/06/16 23:21:50
    iamnothere
    +1
    what ceo of a hospital makes half a billion dollars? specifically who are you talking about?
  • iamnothere mind-pilot 2013/06/15 16:22:38
  • Torchma... mind-pilot 2013/06/13 18:35:00
    Torchmanner ~PWCM~JLA
    +3
    It doesn't work in any other country. Older folks, and those who need expensive treatments, are not being given the necessary care or in some cases have actually been euthanized.
    This is why we have so many from Canada coming here for treatments/surgery.
  • mind-pilot Torchma... 2013/06/13 18:48:09
    mind-pilot
    You're talking about isolated incidences. It works for the VA and it works for Medicare ( except for all the fraud and that's being dealt with) and it works in Germany, Sweden,England and all the other industrialized nations.
    To just believe the insurance, isolated incidences and propaganda is to be naive that America is the only industrialized nation that allows their ill to go broke and ruin their credit and buying power by forcing them into bankruptcies.
    Look into it more.
  • iamnothere mind-pilot 2013/06/13 23:09:07
    iamnothere
    +1
    it works poorly in the countries you mentioned especially near the end of the fiscal year when the money runs out
  • mind-pilot iamnothere 2013/06/13 23:27:03
    mind-pilot
    The money doesn't "run out". It's hospitals. Remember?
  • iamnothere mind-pilot 2013/06/14 11:22:29
    iamnothere
    +1
    the compensation runs out.. there is only a finite amount of money to reimburse.. Remember that?
  • mind-pilot iamnothere 2013/06/14 15:50:24
    mind-pilot
    What country are you talking about? Germany? England? Canada? Austrailia? New Zeland? Brazil? Theres a hell of a lot more.
    When the compensation runs out? Are you just grasping for straws here? We have the worst medical benefits in the modernized world. Our hosptial CEO's can make $500 million a year when they are only worth $80million a year. You don't see all that "sickness for profit" going on everywhere else.
  • iamnothere mind-pilot 2013/06/15 09:21:53
    iamnothere
    +1
    having lived in Europe.. I can attest to what happens at the end of the fiscal year.. you can go to the doctor after waiting months.. you wont get any prescription.. you wont get a return visit. Just go home and suffer thru or die..
  • David 2013/06/13 15:16:01
    David
    +3
    I guess the House and Senate should have ignored Nancy Pelosi's advice and read the bill first before ramming it through and making it law. it was woefully flawed from it's inception and the watered down form is still very bad and poorly though out legislation. It was a purely political move and the far reaching effects of the "Un-afforable Healthcare Act" will start steam rolling through the economy in full force. Only the wealthy will feel a speed bump while the vast majority of American individuals and companies who don't have money to piss away will be experiencing the high hurdle.
  • gldynmd BTO-t-BCRA-F 2013/06/13 14:23:07
  • D Hanes 2013/06/13 14:19:14
    D Hanes
    +5
    It will never work.. it will cripple the middle class and give free health care and fill the hospitals with illegals.. just what that fool in the White house wants!
  • PoliticallyIncorrect 2013/06/13 13:59:35 (edited)
    PoliticallyIncorrect
    +7
    No death panels either, huh? If it weren't for public outrage, two children would be dead or dying because they could not get on the lung transparent list as severe cases just because of their ages. Sibelius and Obama want to be gods, delivering life or death to the minions of America. Two more smug, arrogant, as worthless people in government, they prove daily that they have no business making decisions for Americans. Neither one of them have a lick of sense. One is just stupid, the other is trying to destroy America. Yeah Obamacare is for the likes of them.
  • Bevos 2013/06/13 13:57:12
    Bevos
    +5
    Those SOBs will change it so they don't have to have it because it is putting a strain on THEIR finances??? WHAT THE HELL do they think about US??? The ones that PUT THEM IN OFFICE!!!
  • D Hanes Bevos 2013/06/13 14:20:09
    D Hanes
    +4
    Obamanites don't care about you or me.. they never did!
  • Bevos D Hanes 2013/06/13 14:46:40
    Bevos
    +5
    Their big Healthcare Bill is about to BITE THEM IN THE ASS and all they can do is WHINE. If they change it so they don't have to have it, they need to be voted out PRONTO!!!

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