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Published: Saturday, Oct. 5 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Hamath
Omaha, NE

Point.

Mark Butler 1
Congress 0

ECR
Burke, VA

I guess the author of this letter has been living in a cave somewhere for the past 3 and half years. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare, if you must) has a multi faceted mission:

1. First and foremost, help those who don't have healthcare insurance, because of cost or other circumstances, obtain it for themselves and their families
2. Require that everyone have insurance, even those who can afford it but choose not to buy it but, instead, relying on the benevolence (and legal requirement) of the local non-profit hospital emergency room to be their out-patient clinic, usually free of charge.
3. For those whose employers currently cover them with healthcare insurance nothing needs to be done
4. The healthcare exchanges that the states are encouraged to set up act the same way coverage for federal workers currently acts - a large 'group', as the insurance industry likes to categorize us, is lumped together to make insurance rates more competitive. That's the benefit of being part of the federal 'group' and that's how the exchanges work.

But despite that, Congress, as a provision of the ACA, is required to join an exchange.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

Obamacare is only good for you peasants! We are better than the rest of you and we deserve more because of whoa and what WE are and who YOU and what are. For us, the ruling class, the new aristocracy, its just not good enough. I am proud of the Republican party for standing up for the "peasants" and not for the elite, ruling class (Democrats).

embarrassed Utahn!
Salt Lake City, UT

How does a Supreme Court ruling and convincing re-election won by President Obama strike you?

Just a rhetorical question...I know the answer.

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

Sigh.

Ok guys, Google "Why Congress is (or isn't) exempt from Obamacare" from the September 27 issue of USA Today.

Or, "From Politico to ‘Hannity’: The trajectory of Congress’s Obamacare ‘exemption’ myth" in The Washington Post October 2.

Sheesh.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

I agree, obamacare is something of a failure. Our 'spouse to be' should be single payer health care. Our former spouse should be insurance.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Congress is NOT exempt from Obamacare. As someone who gets his insurance through his employer, though, I am exempt from Obamacare. If I were ever to lose my job, I would be glad that Obamacare is there, because at my age (58), buying a policy on the open market would be virtually impossible.

Stalwart Sentinel
San Jose, CA

Mark, by the same standard, what would the "simplest, most telling litmus test" say about "news" outlets that have misled you into believing that Congress is exempt from the ACA?

Also, what does it say about a newspaper that publishes your letter in it's opinion section, despite the "opinion" being a complete and utter fabrication?

one old man
Ogden, UT

Obamacare is only good for you peasants! We are better than the rest of you and we deserve more because of whoa and what WE are and who YOU and what are. For us, the ruling class, the new aristocracy, its just not good enough. I am proud of the Democratic party for standing up for the "peasants" and not for the elite, ruling class Republicans.

The messages the GOP is sending are coming through loud and clear. They will be repaid at the ballot boxes.

Hemlock
Salt Lake City, UT

The SCOTUS ruled that Congress has the power to tax and that the ACA was a tax, much to the objection of the WH. They did not rule on the advisability of the ACA. Mr. Obama's 53-47% election victory does not grant him the license to be an imperial president. The exemption granted to Congress simply means that they do not have to pay extra for the ACA, something that was not granted to most people. Selective application of the ACA act smacks of favoritism and decreases the legitimacy of health care "reform." In 2010 Democrat Warren Buffet said the ACA should be scraped and focus put on cost control. The ACA does not "bend the cost curve down" as promised by the president. It increased the cost of care.

ugottabkidn
Sandy, UT

Mark, will you please opt out of your employer based healthcare plan and demonstrate how affordable COBRA and buying your own healthcare plan is so we can all follow your lead? No? What? You are not covered because you want to be forced into a health insurance plan? Now what happened to individual responsibility? All this could be avoided if your party had just participated in sculpting the plan in the first place or better yet supported HR676. I suggest rather than be the party of teaopees you return to the party that invented the ACA in the first place via the Heritage Foundation.

RanchHand
Huntsville, UT

Here's what the ACA actually says:

“Notwithstanding any other provision of the 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).”

I don't see anywhere in there that is says congress is exempt. Quite the opposite, in fact.

ECR
Burke, VA

Hemlock - you have absolutely no evidence that the ACA increases the cost of care. How could you? the ACA will not be implemented fully until January of 2014. You continue that annoying mantra that President Obama's victory in 2012 doesn't "grant him the license to be an imperial president." Are you suggesting that a president who supports a piece of legislation, presents it to the Congress, gets it passed in Congress and then signs it into law is acting like an imperial president? Well, I guess that's what we signed up for when the nation was founded because that is all the president has done.

The Republicans, on the other hand, are ignoring the precedence of 237 years of our nation's history and deciding that passing a law in Congress, and even having that law challenged by the Supreme Court, doesn't mean anything and so instead of using the process set forth by our Founding Fathers to change it, they have decided to simply strong arm the issue by taking the government hostage and denying funding to run it, which, of course, includes the immediate unemployment of 1 million workers. Now that is what I call chutzpah.

Shaun
Sandy, UT

I love letters like these. It proves that individuals do not look further than what they hear from their favorite source of news.

Here is the truth:

When Obamacare was passed into law, Sen. Charles Grassley, the Iowa Republican, attached language to the bill that mandated members of Congress and their staffers would have to buy health insurance on the newly created health insurance exchanges. What nobody accounted for at the time was that members of Congress and their staffers currently have health insurance through their employer – the federal government. No other employer has been legally required to drop its employee’s health care plan and have them buy coverage on the exchanges.

So congress is not exempt, but it was a political play to force congress and their staffers to buy insurance on the exchange since they already had insurance through their employer. Now Senator Grassley wants the money that the federal government was contributing for their healthcare to be used to help buy insurance on the exchange.

mark
Salt Lake City, UT

Okay, there are a number of posts above mine that directly address the myth of the exemption from the ACA for congress and their staff. Some give specific articles to reference, others provide the exact language from the ACA, and others point out the history of where this so called exemption originated, and still others suggest to google for yourself and read about the so called exemption (That's exactly what I did when I first heard the myth).

But for all of this, that very clearly shows the fallacy of this claim, I will guarantee that there will be many conservatives that will read this information, and yet still claim that there is an exemption.

. . . sigh . . .

Viva la Migra
American Fork, UT

It's interesting how the ACA apologists want to leave out little details.

When they passed Obamacare, they came up with tax subsidies to allow certain low-income people to purchase insurance from the exchanges, limiting the premium cost to a fraction of income. However, for much of the middle class, there are no subsidies at all.

Prior to the exchanges opening, many Congressmen and their staffers realized that their income was above the subsidy limit and they would have to pay the full cost for their plans. They threatened to leave, and fearing a "brain drain", Congressional leaders sought and received a subsidy rule exemption, allowing them to receive a 72% subsidy, regardless of income.

So while I family like mine would have to pay nearly $1500 per month for an exchange plan, Congressional staffers would only have to pay $420 for the same plan. The other unspoken truth is that Congress is being told they have to purchase Gold plans from among the 112 offered by the DC exchange. I don't know of any other states with so many Gold plans available. You cannot browse these plans without creating an account, but I'm curious about what they offer.

Grover
Salt Lake City, UT

These letters show the desperate need for single payer coverage in the USA! The lack of knowledge about anything to do with health insurance is astounding! Something that cost more than many pay in a mortgage monthly and you would think people would spend some time understanding what they have.

Here are just a few lulu's from the comments above:

1. Congress and/or their staffers are exempt and/or the get a 72% subsidy.

Most employers pay between 70 to 80% of the cost of coverage for employees. Congress and staffers are employees and Congress needed to restore what they had for subsidy before ACA.

2. ACA did not bend the cost curve.

ACA fully started 5 days ago. Bending is tough in under a week.

3. The cost of health insurance is higher than ever.

Economists are baffled as to why the annual increase in the cost of health coverage has dropped to the lowest level in twenty years (and it is still too expensive).

The Pubs need to show us something better and maybe someone other than their partisans will take notice. It is almost 4 years since the law passed and only silence from GOP.

mark
Salt Lake City, UT

Congress isn’t “exempt” from the law. It wasn’t exempt back in 2010, when we first debunked such a claim; nor were lawmakers exempt in May when the bogus bit surfaced again. Three months later, they’re still not exempt. In fact, as we’ve said before, lawmakers and their staffs face additional requirements that other Americans don’t. And the “special subsidy” to which Pittenger refers is simply a premium contribution that his employer, the federal government, has long made to the health insurance policies of its workers.

The Affordable Care Act says. . . members of Congress and their staffs can no longer get their health insurance through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. . . Instead, these federal employees will have to get insurance through the exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act. Other Americans with work-based insurance aren’t subject to such a requirement. They can continue to get health insurance through their employers. Other federal workers, too, can continue to select health insurance plans through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. But not Congress. - No ‘Special Subsidy’ For Congress, 08/30/13, FactCheck

one vote
Salt Lake City, UT

If Hannity says something about complex legislation, it must be 100 percent correct. He was 100% Bush on every issue and 100% against Obama. Maybe we should just let the radio entertainers control government. Then if everyone repeats and memorizes their talking points they will feel better for their "team".

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