Washington DC’s Animal Farm


August 14, 2013


George Orwell must have been writing about the Obama administration and Congress. In Animal Farm, his allegorical novel against Joseph Stalin, former dictator of the Soviet Union, he quipped, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

While the entire country worries about how Obamacare will impact their lives, Congress and their staff have been exempted from its impact on cost. Under Obamacare, members of Congress and their staff lose their employer-sponsored coverage on January 1, 2014 and are forced into the Obamacare Exchange. This also means they lose their tax-free subsidies of up to $4,966.80 for self-only coverage, or $10,048.76 per year for family coverage.

All members of Congress and their staff must by law enter the government exchange to purchase coverage. Since many of them make too much money for taxpayer-funded federal subsidies, they will have to pay the entire cost, with no tax breaks.

Congress panicked this summer as this reality neared. They feared a “brain drain” as staffers threatened to retire or resign. Apparently thinking they are “more equal than others,” members of Congress sought an exemption to the law -- something you and I are not going to get.

So President Obama got personally involved. And on August 1, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that they would allow the federal government to subsidize the cost of Exchange coverage for members of Congress and federal employees. A week later they released a proposed rule to exempt Congress and their staff from the law.

Using loosey-goosey language, OPM prefaced their decision with statements like:

  • OPM has determined…
  • OPM believes…
  • OPM’s understanding is that…
  • We believe that it is appropriate to clarify…

OPM has decided they can change the law to match their preferred state of affairs. Before the OPM issued the proposed rule, Rep. John Larson (D-CT) said if OPM didn’t solve the problem, “I think we should begin an immediate amicus brief to say, ‘Listen, this is simply not fair to these employees… They are federal employees.’”

Fair? The passage of Obamacare was not fair or right. It’s not even legal under the Constitution. And a Congressional exemption from the cost and reality of Obamacare is not legal and not fair to rest of the American public who are forced to live under it.

A proposed rule means you can send in a comment. (click here or search at regulations.gov using “Congressional Staff”). You can tell them it’s illegal. You can tell them it’s wrong. You can tell them Congress should follow the law they passed, not find their own escape hatch from Obamacare.

Let’s have a cascade of comments. Even two sentences of opposition would be great! Make a comment now. DEADLINE is September 9, 2013.

This regulatory maneuver gives Congress even less reason to repeal the law. They’ve created a protective barrier from the costs and placed them on your back. Whatever the costs turn out to be, now and in the future, the federal government – YOU AND I – are going to subsidize the cost of their coverage.

Comment today, and don’t forget to call your member of Congress and tell them to repeal the law for the protection of everyone.

Partnering with you for health freedom,

Twila Brase, R.N., PHN
President and Co-founder