The Dreaded Mass Exodus of Congressional Staffers . . .

Last week, Politico was flogging a story in which there is going to be, if it hasn’t already started, a mass exodus of Congressional staffers due to Obamacare.

Like many Politico stories, it contained only part of the truth.  Per Joan McCarter:

Here’s the story. Congress is talking about how figure out what to do with itself, and its employees, after it let Sen. Chuck Grassley screw things up. See, Grassley thought he could make Democrats look bad by offering up an amendment to the Affordable Care Act that would force Congress onto the new health exchanges. The plan was, Democrats would reject it and look like hypocrites. Which they did not do. They adopted it.

The problem is, members of Congress and their staff are all employees of a very large employer, the federal government. In their wisdom, they didn’t pass a provision to go along with Grassley’s amendment to address this single large employer that would be forced onto the exchange. Large employers aren’t allowed on the exchanges until 2017, and will only be accepted at that time if the state decides to let them on. But right now, there are no procedures for handling premium contributions for large employers. This means that it’s possible the federal government wouldn’t pay the employer’s portion of health insurance premiums for members of Congress and staff.

There’s a deeper reality being revealed here.  Today’s Republican party cares nothing about policy.  They aren’t interested in it, they don’t try to understand it.  Grassley’s amendment was offered for purely political reasons with no concern for the policy effects.  So of course the real world policy effects are negative.  Had Grassley simply left well enough alone, this wouldn’t be an issue.  I’m also guessing he figured that even if it passed, the Dems would come along later and fix it which would give him political fodder (he’d scream about “Democrats exempting Congress from the law”).  But that assumed Dems would retain control of the House.  Republicans in the House care about policy even less than Senate Republicans.  So the Grassley’s messed up Amendment remains in place and is panicking Republicans in Congress.

And of course, the folks at Politico.

The Office of Personnel Management, which oversees benefits for all federal employees, hasn’t determined their interpretation of the law yet, and is quite likely to decide that the federal government can continue to pay its part of employee benefits. As of this moment, this isn’t a real thing to panic about. But it’s a fun Obamacare scare story for Republicans and Politico.

  1. #1 by Richard Warnick on June 18, 2013 - 9:03 am

    What happened to President Obama’s promise that if you have health insurance, you can keep it? Did Senator Grassley’s amendment negate that?

  2. #2 by brewski on June 18, 2013 - 11:19 am

    The same thing that happened with Obama’s promise that our premiums would go down by $2500 each.

  3. #3 by cav on June 19, 2013 - 8:24 am

    It’s not just Obama-care!

    After the revelation that the National Security Agency leaks came from a 29-year-old Booz Allen Hamilton employee. Unions representing federal employees have begun gearing up for a battle against government ‘privatizing’.
    In recent years, more and more work has shifted from the federal government to contractors in a process often referred to as ‘privatization’ – a misguided, deceitful effort to seemingly cut down the size of government. Now, the unions hope they can use Edward Snowden, the source of the NSA leaks, as an example of the need for reform — and to fight off proposals on Capitol Hill to expand federal contracting.

    Shifting work from the federal government to ‘private’ contractors may in some sense “cut down the size of government” by cutting down the number of federal employees, but all too often the ‘privateers’ cost government MORE! Look at what Booz Allen paid Snowden versus what the government paid them for him. And unions should pound that one into the ground. OVER AND OVER AND OVER – because all that extra money the government has paid for Snowden and other employees like him is profit for people who DID NOTHING – like the Carlyle Group.

    I think it’s a plot to drown unions in the bathtub. As long as ‘privatization’ is the accepted trend, there will be a shift of manpower out of government service, and into the likes of Carlyle – which is in no way the same as reducing either the cost or size of the ‘government’, aka fascist enterprise, as it goes forward. Nor will it become more efficient.

  4. #4 by cav on June 19, 2013 - 12:45 pm

    Wondering how come few have noticed that Obama-care gives the government a massive data base that is of equal, if not of more surveillance value than phone and internet records.

    You know damn well they will grab that data “to keep us safe”.

  5. #5 by brewski on June 23, 2013 - 10:13 pm

    Forty-one percent of the businesses surveyed have frozen hiring because of the health-care law known as Obamacare. And almost one-fifth—19 percent— answered “yes” when asked if they had “reduced the number of employees you have in your business as a specific result of the Affordable Care Act.

    Another 38 percent of the small business owners said they “have pulled back on their plans to grow their business” because of Obamacare.

    Those are “some pretty startling answers,” Friedman said.

    “To think that [nearly] 20 percent of small businesses have already reduced the numbers they have in their business because they’re concerned about the medical coverage is significant, and a bit troubling,” Friedman said.

  6. #7 by cav on June 25, 2013 - 1:55 pm

    Math question…10 companies comprise what part of the 41% of those surveyed? And, How many companies were surveyed originally.

    Am I detecting statistical Hoodoo? or the birth of another hair-brained republican meme?

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