We can't quite ever recall a more delicious lede for a straight news piece.
From Politico earlier this morning:
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.
In fact, the whole article is so wondrous we might just reprint the entire piece and provide running commentary. Go ahead and read while we luxuriate in our Schadenfreude...
The fear: 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.
Democratic and Republican leaders are taking the issue seriously, but first they need more specifics from the Office of Personnel Management on how the new rule should take effect - a decision that Capitol Hill sources expect by fall, at the latest. The administration has clammed up in advance of a ruling, sources on both sides of the aisle said.
In what was perhaps the most idiotic line of reasoning ever formulated by a politician, it was Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi that claimed we had to pass ObamaCare so we could find out what's in it. Fully 3+ years after its passage now, Congress kinda-sorta knows what's in it to the extent that they aren't asking if the new federal healthcare law is going to screw them, they are asking how bad it's going to screw them. Good times, gang, good times.
Back to the article:
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.
In light of monumentally dubious legislative achievements such as TARP, the American Recovery Act (Porkulus), Dodd-Frank Fin-Reg, Cash for Clunkers and, of course, the subject law away from which the very members that wrote it and passed it are running as fast as they humanly can, we'll let that term percolate for a moment....
And given the legislative trainwrecks mentioned above, someone please explain to us again what is so bad about gridlock.
And back to the article:
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.
You do recall the President telling all of us that if we liked our current healthcare plan, we could keep it, right? We believe members of Congress sure do.
Rep. John Larson, a Connecticut Democrat in leadership when the law passed, said he thinks the problem will be resolved.
"If not, I think we should begin an immediate amicus brief to say, 'Listen this is simply not fair to these employees,'" Larson told POLITICO. "They are federal employees."
Words that probably should've been aired some 4 years ago, wouldn't you say Representative Larson?
One more time for the Politico piece:
Republicans, never a fan of Democratic health care reform, are more vocal about the potential adverse effects of the provision.
"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.
We've heard ObamaCare called many things and indeed this blog has had its share of pejoratives to associate with ObamaCare but referring to the federal law as a "threat" is a new one.
Woops, we lied... check this out:
The Affordable Care Act - signed into law in 2010 - contained a provision known as the Grassley Amendment, which said the government can only offer members of Congress and their staff plans that are "created" in the bill or "offered through an exchange" - unless the bill is amended.
Wait. What? They had an opportunity to effectively exempt themselves from the apparent horribleness of ObamaCare during the crafting of the legislation and they failed to do even that?
We shouldn't be amazed but we are. It tells you all you need to know about the caliber of people we send to represent us in D.C. that they are now freaking out over that which they will be subjecting the rest of us. Yep, we're in the very best of hands.