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Thursday, June 13, 2013

WE QUIT! Capital Hill Retirements To Surge Because of Obamacare

Most polls show American want Obamacare repealed, now it appears the people who can do the repealing are not to happy with the government takeover of our heath system either. Politico is reporting that 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.

Obamacare contains a provision known as the Grassley Amendment which says the government can only offer members of Congress and their staff plans that are “created” in the bill or “offered through an exchange” After all since they are forcing the people into the system, they should be forced into the same system.

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.
I believe the technical term for the above is "join the club!." Most Americans with healthcare have already felt the sting of higher rates due to the provisions of the Obamacare bill. Next year when Obamacare is fully implemented costs are expected to skyrocket even further.
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.
The House of Representatives could solve the problem today if they took a stand. It's like what the good witch says at the end of the Wizard of Oz "You've always had the power to go back to Kansas."  Speaker Boehner and most of the House Republican Caucus demonstrate over and over they never really to kill this freedom-stealing budget-buster.

Its nice that the GOP keeps passing bills to repeal Obamacare, but Senate Democrats will not pass such a bill and the president will never sign it. However, according to the Constitution it is the House that controls spending, if Boehner really wanted to kill Obamacare he could refuse to give it funding.
“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.”

Congressional leadership is looking for ways to protect themselves and their staffs from the expense-shock of Obamacare.
“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.”
HELL NO! If Congress does anything to ease the affect of this legislation on themselves or their staffs America will scream bloody murder! The citizens of this country are stuck with this law, why shouldn't the people who passed it and fund it be stuck with it also.

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.”
 Raises? There's no money for bloody raises!  There is only one action possible repeal the bill or starve it to death via lack of funding. Anything else will make Capital Hill a much more expensive place to work.

The full Politico article can be found here.

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