13 April 2010

Did Congress Take Away Their Own Health Care?

There are many news reports floating around today that reference a Congressional Research Service report that has found a provision in Obamacare that appears to prohibit members of Congress and their employees from participating in their current government health care plan. I haven't heard any member of Congress speak about this yet, and I still have not seen the CRS report. I do have access to the Obamacare bill, though, so I started reading.

There it was, only about 150 pages into the law, in Section 1312(d)(3)(D):

(i) REQUIREMENT. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, after the effective date of this subtitle, the only health plans that the Federal Government may make available to Members of Congress and congressional staff with respect to their service as a Member of Congress or congressional staff shall be health plans that are—
(I) created under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act); or
(II) offered through an Exchange established under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act).

(ii) DEFINITIONS. In this section:
(I) MEMBER OF CONGRESS.—The term "Member of Congress" means any member of the House of Representatives or the Senate.
(II) CONGRESSIONAL STAFF.—The term "congressional staff" means all full-time and part-time employees employed by the official office of a Member of Congress, whether in Washington, DC or outside of Washington, DC.
This was signed into law about three weeks ago, and unless Congress writes specific language into the legislation regarding the date that a provision is to take effect, provisions of legislation take effect when the legislation becomes law. That means that, unless there is something else somewhere else in the Obamacare monstrosity that would counteract or delay this, it would appear that the new law now requires that members of Congress and their staff may only have health plans made available to them by the federal government that are created under Obamacare or offered through an Exchange established by Obamacare.

Contact your Congress-critters and ask them if they are aware of this provision, and whether or not they intend to abide by it.


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