In the long run-up to Obamacare’s Oct. 1 launch, Congress made much over its commitment to keeping itself honest. Congress members and staffers, they pledged, would indeed adhere to the same coverage plans and mandates that Congress had imposed on the entire Nation.
But no one said anything about Congress members and eligible Capitol employees getting the white-glove treatment.
The New York Times, which has had a rough time adjusting its former editorial stance as it attempts to stay atop Obamacare’s now-burgeoning wave of unpopularity, got mad about it Tuesday.
“Members of Congress like to boast that they will have the same health care enrollment experience as constituents struggling with the balky federal website, because the law they wrote forced lawmakers to get coverage from the new insurance exchanges,” wrote The Times’ Robert Pear.
What follows is a sarcastic tirade highlighting the vast difference between the Congressional Obamacare enrollment experience and that of just about everybody else:
That is true. As long as their constituents have access to “in-person support sessions” like the ones being conducted at the Capitol and congressional office buildings by the local exchange and four major insurers. Or can log on to a special Blue Cross and Blue Shield website for members of Congress and use a special toll-free telephone number — a “dedicated congressional health insurance plan assistance line.”
And then there is the fact that lawmakers have a larger menu of “gold plan” insurance choices than most of their constituents have back home.
That’s right. Congress actually has more options than everyone else, especially on the deluxe end of the coverage spectrum. There are 112 Obamacare gold-level coverage packages available to Congress, whereas most constituents back home can count on one or two hands the number of gold-level packages available to them.
The problems most people have with Obamacare have to do with its mechanical functionality (accessing websites that work as advertised) and with its cost (obtaining coverage that’s “affordable,” as advertised).
But the problems Congress members and staffers are having represent a wealth of riches.
“Lawmakers and their aides are not eligible for tax credit subsidies, but the government pays up to 75 percent of their premiums, contributing a maximum of $5,114 a year for individual coverage and $11,378 for family coverage,” writes Pear. “The government contribution is based on the same formula used for most other federal employees.
“…Congressional aides naturally have a few complaints. Some are confused by the large number of options.”
No worries. They can just call the Congress-only toll-free Obamacare number to get their questions answered rapidly.