While congressional Democrats were on board to mandate that all Americans have health coverage through the auspices of Obamacare, they are having second thoughts about covering themselves and their staff. Leaders of both parties have held “high level” talks to discuss exemptions, according to Politico.
A source who commented on the talks told Politico, “Everyone has to hold hands on this and jump, or nothing is going to get done.”
The talks — which involve Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, the Obama administration and other top lawmakers — are extraordinarily sensitive, with both sides acutely aware of the potential for political fallout from giving carve-outs from the hugely controversial law to 535 lawmakers and thousands of their aides. Discussions have stretched out for months, sources said.
Congress already holds extremely low approval ratings, and if the exemptions go forward, they risk being seen as hypocrites who hold themselves to a “different standard” than their constituents.
The problem results from determining whether members and their staff would continue to have their health insurance premiums subsidized by their employer – the federal government. If not, it is estimated that even low level staff could be hit with premium tab of as much as $7,000.
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., a key player in crafting Obamacare, said that there is a misinterpretation of the law, the federal government will still subsidize the plans, and there will be no additional cost to lawmakers and Hill aides.
Proposals have been submitted to the Office of Personnel Management, one which exempts lawmakers and aides, and another that exempts aides alone, according to the report.
Read the entire Politico report here.
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