The Affordable Care Act began enrollment on October 1. The site has had many hits, more than anticipated. However, as was expected, there have been glitches in the system—some not so small. The Washington Post’s Wonkblog offers an explanation of why these technical glitches are occurring and what is being done to resolve them. We shall see in the coming months how it all plays out as the kinks get worked out.
These glitches, however, serve as easy ammunition for opponents of the law looking to kill it. Another weapon being used to derail the law and raise the ire of Americans is the claim, mostly in conservative media, that the President and Congress are exempting themselves from Obamacare. This is a falsehood that has been fact checked. But as one knows, if a claim is repeated enough times people will believe it.
This Factcheck.org piece explains all of this exemption brouhaha quite well. I guess it all comes down to who you trust.
Friends referred to me these two articles:
- National Review: Congress’s Exemption from Obamacare
- Washington Examiner: Obamacare hurts many but Congress gets reprieve
These articles refute the above pieces:
- Forbes: Is Congress Really Attempting a Last Minute End Run to Exempt Itself from Obamacare?
- National Journal: GOP Zealots are Making DC Dumber
- New Republic: The Latest Obamacare Lie that Just Won’t Die
I’ve also heard the claim that somehow these government employees are not contributing to the cost of their healthcare plans at all. That is false. Per Wikipedia:
“Premiums vary from plan to plan and are paid in part by the employer (the U. S. government agency that the employee works for or, for annuitants, OPM) and the remainder by the employee. The employer pays an amount up to 72 percent of the average plan premium for self-only or family coverage (not to exceed 75 percent of the premium for the selected plan), and the employee pays the rest.”
Now, one can make the argument that perhaps they should contribute more to their own coverage; that is legitimate. However, to state they don’t contribute at all is incorrect because they do.
This information can also be found directly from the OPM website. See their latest statement regarding this issue below.
The Office of Personnel Management issued a proposed rule on Aug. 7 explaining that members of Congress and applicable congressional staff will be required to purchase health insurance coverage through the exchanges created by the law. However, according to the proposed rule, the federal government, as the employer, will still be able to make a contribution to health insurance premiums as it currently does. The contribution will be no greater than that now offered to members and their staffs under the FEHB program, and members and their staffs will not be eligible for premium tax credits made available to other persons purchasing health insurance through the exchanges.