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25 March 2010

Is this really true? Are some Capitol Hill staffers exempt from the HCR bill? Media Matters says that it isn't but Politico indicates that it is. What gives?
Well, Politico's headline and lead paragraph are different from the actual text of the article. If you dig to their real claim, it is

The Congressional Research Service believes a court could rule that the legislation "would exclude professional committee staff, joint committee staff, some shared staff, as well as potentially those staff employed by leadership offices.
Emphasis mine.
posted by muddgirl 25 March | 17:48
Also, they would not be excluded from the whole bill, just the specific requirement that members of Congress and their staff enroll in an insurance exchange rather than maintain their Government health care.

Basically, everyone in America gets to keep their current insurance under HCR, except for members of Congress and their Congressional staffers. They have to give up their current insurance and enter the insurance exchange. Yes, it does not look like President Obama or his staffers have to enter the insurance exchange. He, like the rest of us working stiffs who have employer-paid insurance, gets to keep his current insurance.
posted by muddgirl 25 March | 17:52
Oh, dear. It's unfortunate that the wording of the legislation left that ambiguity on the subject.

Do you suppose they'd be willing to amend the language to make clear that they'll be required to obey the strictures of the new law?

No, I don't suppose so either.
posted by Joe Beese 25 March | 17:54
muddgirl, that is what I thought. And yeah, what Joe Beese said. I normally don't fall for this crap. What an ugly day in politics.
posted by futz 25 March | 18:33
The original text is here (search for "congressional staff"), and pretty clearly says healthcare exchange plans are voluntary, except for congressional staff, for whom they're compulsory.

It's not an ambiguity, it's a wilful misreading by Politico.
posted by cillit bang 25 March | 19:34
Hmm, Joe Beese? I don't understand - there's no ambiguity as far as I can tell. It's just right-wing shit-stirring.
posted by muddgirl 25 March | 20:22
Or am I being obtuse and in need of an irony detector? Probably. Man, this whole reading comprehension thing is hard.
posted by muddgirl 25 March | 20:25
Huh--I wonder if I'm congressional staff.

(just gave sperose a tour of my office, as a matter of fact!)
posted by mrmoonpie 26 March | 12:02
I thought Congress was always exempt from their own legislation? Surely "The West Wing" wasn't wrong?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 26 March | 12:34
Jonathan Cohn argues there's no ambiguity:

(D) MEMBERS OF CONGRESS IN THE EXCHANGE
(i) REQUIREMENT- Notwithstanding any other provision of 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)
(ii) DEFINITIONS- In this section:
(I) MEMBER OF CONGRESS- The term 'Member of Congress' means any member of the House of Representatives or the Senate.
(II) CONGRESSIONAL STAFF- The term 'congressional staff' means all full-time and part-time employees employed by the official office of a Member of Congress, whether in Washington, DC or outside of Washington, DC.
posted by l33tpolicywonk 26 March | 22:57
Thanks l33tpolicywonk. I needed a rebuttal and now I have it. This misinformation is really making the rounds right now. Sigh.
posted by futz 27 March | 08:50
I met my mother today || Ibiza, Riviera, Cancun....

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