Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
All major legislation with lots of moving parts requires tweaking over time. Legislators are not omnipotent, and there are always unforeseen circumstances that require a fix. This is what Congress is supposed to do -- at least until the unprecedented insurrection by Tea-Publican economic terorrists with respect to sabotaging the Affordable Care Act (aka "ObamaCare").
In some cases they inserted a "poison pill" amendment into the act, hoping to sabotage it, and in other cases they refuse to make easy fixes that everyone agrees is a workable solution, hoping to emphasize "the horrors of ObamaCare" in a misguided attempt to sabotage the health care program.
Case in point, is an Obamacare Fix Spares Hill Staffers:
Capitol Hill staffers will avoid the financial blow of a Republican-planted provision in Obamacare that was poised to significantly raise their health care costs next year and lead to disruptions in congressional offices.
A rule issued Wednesday by the Office of Personnel Management, which handles congressional compensation, says the federal government may contribute to insurance premiums for lawmakers and congressional staff who are set to be dropped from their federal health plans and must buy policies on the Affordable Care Act exchanges next year.
“These proposed regulations implement the administrative aspects of switching Members of Congress and congressional staff to their new insurance plans — the same plans available to millions of Americans through the new Exchanges,” Jon Foley, OPM’s director of planning and policy, said in a statement Wednesday.
What had been spun as an effort to seek special treatment was, in reality, a response to the provision inserted into the law by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in an attempt to put Democrats in a predicament. If this law is so great, he argued, we should subject ourselves to it. In a surprising move, Democrats embraced the provision and included it in the law.
But the reality was less simple. Under the Grassley amendment, lawmakers and congressional staffers who work for “the official office of a Member of Congress” are the only employees of large organizations in the country who are required to buy insurance from the Obamacare marketplaces. OPM said that because there’s no statutory definition for what constitutes an “official office,” members gets to decide whether committee or leadership staffers qualify.
The Affordable Care Act doesn’t specify whether the government would be allowed to help them pay for the premiums. If not, health care costs for lawmakers and staff would soar, leading to an uneven playing field between them and other employees.
One solution would have been to enact a quick and easy legislative fix. But Republicans immediately took that off the table when the problem became public this spring and was initially portrayed in the media as an attempt by Congress to weasel out of complying with the law.
So Plan B was to push OPM to let Congress help staffers and their bosses pay for insurance on the exchanges. Facing pressure from the White House and Democratic leaders, OPM agreed, leaking word of its ruling last week and making it official Wednesday.
“The proposed regulation,” a White House aide said last week, “will provide for the implementation of the Grassley Amendment, making it clear that these employees will enroll in Marketplace plans, will not qualify for premium tax credits, and, like private sector employees, will not lose their employer contributions for these health plans. … The Administration is focused on making this law work right.”
And then there are religious institution employers, whom you would think Tea-Publicans would want to please since the GOP depends upon this group for its votes, but you would be wrong. The Tea-Publican "Obama Derangement Syndrome" is so strong that they would rather engage in their "kill ObamaCare" hyperbole than agree to a fix that the religious institution employers have requested. GOP Expected To Thwart Obamacare Fix For Churches:
An effort by Democrats to fix a glitch under Obamacare that harms small churches is widely expected to be blocked by Republicans, in what would be the latest example of GOP efforts to undermine President Obama’s signature legislative achievement by refusing to fix technical problems encountered during implementation.
The problem is that under the law clergy and church employees at smaller churches cannot apply their Obamacare subsidies toward the premiums for church insurance plans because those plans do not qualify. That could force clergy and staff to leave their church insurance plans and use the Obamacare exchanges instead, threatening to rob church insurance plans of the participants they need to remain viable.
Legislation by Sens. Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Chris Coons (D-DE) would fix this problem by allowing Obamacare premium subsidies to be applied toward church plans that meet coverage requirements. It would also deem qualified church plans as satisfying the law’s coverage mandates.
The United Methodist Church is urging lawmakers to support the bill, fearful that it may have to drop coverage under the status quo and let employees buy insurance on their own.
“Absent this amendment it would be difficult for some churches to function as they are now,” said Tim Jost, a professor of health law at Washington and Lee University and expert on the Affordable Care Act, which he supports.
Democrats say Republicans are determined to block a legislative fix, as they have for other Obamacare glitches, and want to keep pushing to repeal the law entirely. A political upside for Republicans is that letting the key parts of the law take effect next year with the church glitch aids their efforts to sabotage the law’s implementation.
“This is one of those situations where if you had a functional Congress, they’d be able to enact a fix,” Jost said. “But we don’t have a functional Congress so that’s not likely to happen.”