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Comments about ‘Letters: 'The U.S. is not a kingdom, I am not the king'’

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Published: Thursday, Aug. 15 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

Way to rant about something that isn't true... just read Ezra Klein's article "No, Congress isn't trying to exempt itself from Obamacare".

Stephen Kent Ehat
Lindon, UT

And after Mr. Obama writes it on the chalkboard, Nancy Pelosi should be ordered to read it.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"he exempted Congress and congressional aides from the very law they passed so that they will continue to receive a large taxpayer subsidy for their health insurance premiums"

Yes Ron, the optimal word here is "CONTINUE".

Just like many employers "subsidize" (i.e. pay a portion) their workers health care costs.

Then, Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa championed a bill removing the employer contribution part of health care for congressional employees making their healthcare costs skyrocket.

His thought was to force others to correct the injustice and in doing so, elicit exactly your kind of response.

And you fell for it. HOOK, LINE and SINKER.

Feel used?

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

A brief history: In the drafting stage, Obamacare did not apply to congress because they get their insurance through the federal government employee plan. Republican senator Chuck Grassley put up an amendment that would require congress to get insurance through the exchanges, like other Americans who lacked employer provided coverage. He thought that Democrats would reject this idea, which could then be used as a talking point against them. Well to his surprise, they accepted it as part of the bill. What they did not specify is how the government would pay for their share of the premiums, they currently pay 72%, which is about average for an employer sponsored plan.

All that has happened is that the government issued an administrative clarification stating that the government would continue to pay the same percentage of premiums as it currently does. It did not exempt congress from getting coverage through the exchanges. Many conservative sources are attempting to portray this as Obama exempting congress from Obamacare. The author of this letter apparently fell for their lies.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Well, this letter is false. Members of Congress will be joining insurance exchanges just like the rest of us. They get a premium subsidy just like the rest of us whose employers are willing to pay part of our premiums. Sorry, you faux-angry Republicans, but your pants are on fire.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "I am not the king"

If he were to write it, here's betting he'd add a word -- "yet."

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Rather than DN printing a letter from one of their subscribers who is clearly misinformed why doesn't DN write an article laying out the facts?

Those purchasing health insurance from the exchanges will be those aren't covered by an employer plan, Congress and their staff.
Congress will be the only large employer in the exchange. The "subsidies" for Congress should not be confused with the subsidies available to those who can't afford health insurance.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Why should the "temp workers" that serve in Congress get any benefits, including health care? Why shouldn't they receive the same benefits that any other "temp worker" receives, i.e., NONE? Why shouldn't they pay the full price for their own healthcare? They are temp workers who wanted to serve TEMPORARILY. They have businesses or jobs to return to after their temp service is over. Surely, their business or jobs provided them with health insurance. Surely that business or job would extend their coverage for the short time that that person served his country as an elected official.

Those who have turned "temp service" into a cushy life-time job should have all "benefits" stripped, including the barber shop. Let them pay the same price as every other American for everything. Let them pay the full cost of the "heath insurance" that they imposed on all of us. Let them be paid a very modest wage; the same wage they would receive for any "temp service" job.

If they were not allowed to be "royalty", they would not act like "royalty". If they were paupers, they would consider us "paupers" when they passed legislation.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

I do not begrudge the salaries that Congressmen get (although I do begrudge them accomplishing nothing).

In general, they are highly educated and accomplished leaders (in general, not always)

These people are making far far less than they would make in private business.

Do we want only people serving in Congress that are only worth what they are paid?

Personally, I would much rather see them get a huge salary increase but lose all the lobby perks, insider information they trade on and all the other "perks" which allow them to get rich while making under $200K per year.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I think Congress and all government employees should be in the same retirement system we are in, and have to pay for their health insurance like we do. THEN maybe they would pass legislation they themselves would like to live with.

Anti Bush-Obama
Washington, DC

If a Rodeo clown who makes fun of Obama loses his job, that sounds like something that would happen under a king, not a president.

VST
Bountiful, UT

I have one question. If this was known to be case when the amendment was presented, then why did the supporters of Obamacare allow Grassley's amendment to pass?

Is this an example of where Nancy Pelosi said "…we have to pass it [the big bill] in order to see what is in it?"

Sorry, but this is not just an "administrative clarification." The President does NOT have the Constitutional authority to "administratively add" or to "pick and choose" which portions of the law he is required to "faithfully execute" per that same Constitution. If this was an omission from the law, then the law needs to be amended by Congress to explicitly clarify HOW the premium amount paid by the government will be calculated for those members of Congress and their staff.

This is a valid yearly budget issue; not something that is paid out of the President's petty cash drawer.

Anti Bush-Obama
Washington, DC

If Obamacare is so great and revolutionary, then why does it keep getting delayed? If it was so great it should be implemented ASAP. But it's not. Great things never get delayed only tyrannical things.

CHS 85
Sandy, UT

@2 bits

"I think Congress and all government employees should be in the same retirement system we are in, and have to pay for their health insurance like we do. THEN maybe they would pass legislation they themselves would like to live with."

I can tell you know NOTHING about the federal employees health benefit plan or the federal employee retirement system. We pay for our health insurance the same as other employees in a large company. We also have a 401K program for our retirement called the TSP, similar to a 401K in a private company.

I guess the people who work full-time for the country should receive no benefits? Is that what I read from you and your conservative friends? I guess I shouldn't receive a paycheck either? Please don't lump rank and file employees in with the elected do-nothing Congress.

Noodlekaboodle
Poplar Grove, UT

@MikeRichards
In the past I have done work on contract from anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. Each time I had insurance through those companies. I have no problem with giving senators or congressmen insurance. While they are in office. When they are out of office they shouldn't continue to get insurance through congress, but it's absurd not to give it while they are in office. A job of that level is going to carry benefits in the private sector, I see no problem with giving it to public sector workers as well.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

CHS 85,
When I worked for the State (long ago) State employees didn't pay SS taxes because we were part of the State Retirement System (not something normal citizens could participate in). That's what I'm talking about... government employees participating in one retirement system while the peasants have to rely on Social Security being there when they need it.

I understand Congress has a very cushy everything's covered healthcare plan. If Medicaid/Medicare is so good for the masses... why don't THEY use it? Maybe THEN they would make sure Medicare covered more things, and make sure Medicare and Social Security funds don't run out of money.

J Thompson
SPRINGVILLE, UT

We often forget what the word "service" means. The forefathers had the idea that people would be willing to leave their farms or businesses to "serve" their fellowman for a short time. Those who served didn't expect "free" or "discounted" perks from the people. They "served" and then they went back to whatever it was that they did before they answered the call to "serve".

Right now, there are millions all across America who "serve" without pay. Every church that has a lay clergy follows that principle. Many of those people are highly qualified. Many of them could command a very high salary for their expertise; but, they serve without pay.

Members of Congress have forgotton what "service" means. The President has forgotten what "service" means. They demand private jets or first class seating on commercial flights so that they don't have to "rub elbows" with us common people. They ride around in limos. They isolate themselves from the citizens. They must think that they live in France at the time of Louis XVI. Nothing is too good for them.

It's time to call them all home and let "service minded" people "serve".

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

@Anti Bush-Obama
Washington, DC

If a Rodeo clown who makes fun of Obama loses his job, that sounds like something that would happen under a king, not a president.
12:06 p.m. Aug. 15, 2013

=====

I didn't know Glenn Beck lost his job...

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

2 bits.

You are all over the map.

First you say "When I worked for the State (long ago) State employees didn't pay SS taxes because we were part of the State Retirement System (not something normal citizens could participate in)."

Then you seem to lump Congress and their healthcare plan into the same scenario as the state

Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought conservatives believed in things being run by the state.

Seems like you are having a hard time distinguishing between the two.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Joe,
I assumed that Federal Employees have a similar retirement program and medical program (like Utah Public Employee Benefit Program).

I don't think it's such a crime to lump public employees together (State or Federal their are "public employees"). Must they be separated and never addressed together in your mind? In my mind you're a "public employee" whether you work for the State OR the Federal Government.

So let's address them separately (as to not be all over the map). State employees should be in the same retirement system as the rest of us. Federal employees should be in the same retirement system as the rest of us. There... how's that?

And State and Federal employees should also get the same medical coverage they think is OK for the masses (IF they think Medicare/Medicaid are good enough for the masses).

IF (or should I say when) we go to a single-payer government health insurance for all.. do you think Congress is going to be on that program? I doubt it. I think there will be a different system for them.

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