Everything You Need to Know About Congress and ObamaCare

We cover everything you need to know about ObamaCare and Congress, including updates on votes to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

An update on the repeal and replace voting in Congress: Republicans are moving forward with an Obamacare repeal, but the details are complex. Republicans have already begun the process of repeal via what is known as “budget reconciliation“. So far, votes have passed the House and Senate that pave the way for Republicans to use special budget procedures to repeal major parts of the law without cooperation from Democrats. While the strategy to start a repeal and replace plan by defunding and delaying is frustrating in some ways, it is a boon to those covered (as it doesn’t result in an immediate repeal of provisions like cost assistance). Since this process involves voting to write legislation that begins to repeal ObamaCare at a later date, and because there is no replacement plan on the table yet, it is often summarized as “a repeal and delay” plan. All this to say, the repeal process has begun after passing the House and Senate, but for the time being, the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) is still in effect and open enrollment 2017 is still on. Get more ObamaCare 2017 Repeal and Replace Updates or see another perspective at Washington Post’s “It will only get harder for Republicans aiming to repeal Obamacare”.

Can Congress Repeal ObamaCare? Congress can repeal ObamaCare, but the path is difficult. They are starting by defunding, then they will have to write a repeal bill, and then they will need a replace bill. Even then, some parts are harder to get rid of than others. It is likely only key provisions will actually be repealed and replaced due to logistics. But, for now, we still don’t know!

The ObamaCare Exemption for Congress is a myth. It turns out that reports that members of Congress will be exempt from ObamaCare are without merit. Members of Congress have to buy their health insurance on the exchanges along with millions of other Americans.

ObamaCare Congress Shutdown

Now that we have a few key points covered, let’s take a look at why Government Republican members of congress forced a Government shut down over ObamaCare back in 2013.

On October 1st, 2013 Republican members of congress forced a Government shut down in protest of ObamaCare and some of its key provisions by not signing off on the budget needed in order to move forward.

The shutdown didn’t actually stop ObamaCare, but it did shut down congress for 17 days costing tax payers about $24 billion. Most of the funding for ObamaCare is mandatory and has nothing to do with the appropriation bills Congress was protesting.

UPDATE: For 2017 something like this could have happened, but Democrats lost power in the 2016 election and don’t have the votes to filibuster the Republican budget plan. So for now 20 million lives are on the line over this.

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Congress Health Insurance Exchange Catch

As noted above, it is a the myth that Congress and their staff are exempt from buying their health insurance through the health insurance marketplace. The rest of the page covers some details related to that point.

Just like everyone else members of congress and their staff must purchase their coverage through the small businesses part of the health insurance marketplace.

Although Congress will have to purchase their insurance through ObamaCare’s health insurance exchange like millions of other Americans they can choose any plan they wish. So while a typical American may only be able to afford a basic plan members of Congress will be able to choose the most expensive plans and pay the 40% excise tax that comes on the backs of these plans.

The federal government pays about 72% of the cost of the various health plans available to federal employees or 75% of the cost of the chosen plan, whichever is less. Private employers on average pay more than 80% of the cost of health benefits.

Congress Meets In Regards to ObamaCare

Congress did hold meetings in regards to ObamaCare, but it was not in regards to exemption. The meetings were an effort to fix a drafting error that prevents the federal government from paying into insurance exchanges on behalf of congressional staffers who got caught up in a political controversy.

The federal government is the largest employer in the country. So Grassley’s amendment means that the largest employer in the country is required to put some of its employees — the ones working for Congress — on the exchanges. But the exchanges don’t have any procedures for handling premium contributions for large employers.

That’s where the problem comes in. This was an offhand amendment that was supposed to be rejected. It’s not clear that the federal government has the authority to pay for congressional staffers on the exchanges, the way it pays for them now in the federal benefits program. That could lead to a lot of staffers quitting Congress because they can’t afford to shoulder 100 percent of their premiums.

Is the ObamaCare Loop Hole for Congress Fair

The health insurance purchasing system set up under ObamaCare may not be fair as it doesn’t provide equal treatment to all Americans, in fact your treatment is still directly proportional to the amount of money you make. However it makes significant strides by making quality insurance more widely affordable. Whether or not Congress is really getting “the same” insurance as most Americans may be a point of argument, but they are getting insurance that is available to those Americans who pay a little more. However the way in which many of the staffers will pay for their insurance has yet to be determined.

Keep coming back for the truth on ObamaCare and Congress.

 

ObamaCare Exemption for Congress
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