The Arbitrary World of Obamacare
12:33 PM, Aug 2, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
As evidence of the extraordinarily sloppy drafting job that the Democrats did on their 2,700-page overhaul of American medicine, they apparently left congressional staffers out in the cold. Just four days ago, the New York Times wrote:
"The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service pinpointed the problem 10 days after President Obama signed the health care law in March 2010.
"...With the [Obamacare] exchanges scheduled to open in just nine weeks, the Obama administration is struggling to come up with a creative interpretation of the health care law that would allow the federal government to kick in for insurance as private employers do, but so far an answer has proved elusive.
"The issue is politically charged because the White House and Congress are highly sensitive to any suggestion that lawmakers or their aides are getting special treatment under the health law. The administration is already under fire from Republicans for delaying a requirement that larger businesses offer insurance to their full-time employees.
The Times continues:
"...In battles over the health care law in 2009-10, Republicans proposed a requirement for lawmakers and aides to join the exchanges, and Democrats accepted it.
"Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, who proposed an early version of the idea, said he wanted to make sure that 'members of Congress and Congressional staff get their employer-based health insurance through the same exchanges as our constituents.'
"...The 2010 law generally requires lawmakers and aides who work in their personal offices to get coverage through the exchanges. That implies that they would no longer receive coverage through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
"...David M. Ermer, a lawyer who has represented insurers in the federal employee program for 30 years, said, 'I do not think members of Congress and their staff can get funds for coverage in the exchanges under existing law.'
"'Perhaps,' he said, 'they could buy coverage on an exchange, pay for it on their own and be reimbursed later by the government. You would need a law to appropriate money for that.'"
Now, without benefit of such a law, the Obama administration and its Democratic congressional allies have decreed that the problem will be magically solved with a simple wave of the regulatory wand.
"Lawmakers and staff can breathe easy — their health care tab is not going to soar next year.
"The Office of Personnel Management, under heavy pressure from Capitol Hill, will issue a ruling that says the government can continue to make a contribution to the health care premiums of members of Congress and their aides, according to several Hill sources.
"A White House official confirmed the deal and said the proposed regulations will be issued next week.
"Just Wednesday, POLITICO reported that President Barack Obama told Democratic senators that he was personally involved in finding a solution.
"...Obama’s involvement in solving this impasse was unusual, to say the least."
"...There were discussions of a legislative fix — attaching language to a must-pass bill to fix the problem. But that would’ve been too difficult."
It's becoming increasingly evident that the Obama administration doesn't really view Obamacare as a law at all. It's merely a general framework within which President Obama acts, or pressures other to act, at his whim.
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