The “frauds on the Hill” may force Congress to use Obamacare

Two interesting pieces on the Republican party’s effort to stop the impending launch of Obamacare exchanges tomorrow by shutting down the government, and if necessary, defaulting on the national debt.

The first is from Politico’s Roger Simon, who’s well-respected here in DC, and thus when Roger has had it with the GOP’s antics, it’s a sign of greater trouble for the Republican party and it’s smoke-and-mirrors efforts to convince the American people that it’s really the Democrats trying to shut down the government, and not the Republicans.

In the past, I would complain that Congress was dysfunctional. Today, I would take dysfunctional. Because when the extreme right wing of Congress functions today, it functions with such malicious intent, with such perverse glee at frustrating the will of the people, that one does not know whether to laugh or cry.

We live in a time when outright buffoonery passes for statesmanship. We live in a time when a 21-hour non-filibuster filibuster by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) leads not to general hilarity but serious consideration of how it will help Cruz run for president in 2016.

Nor can the tragicomedy even be questioned. When a reporter asked Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on Saturday what he would do if his efforts to defund Obamacare should fail, Issa stuck his nose into the reporter’s face and shrilled, “How dare you presume a failure? How dare you? How dare you? How dare you?”

How dare us. Our leaders must not be questioned! They are beyond question. And, in some cases, beyond hope.

Of course, my favorite story from the weekend is from the NYT late last night.  It seems that the Republicans have a secret plan to force the defunding of health care reform: Make everyone in Congress join Obamacare exchanges.

Br'er Rabbit, from Disney's "Song of the South."

Br’er Rabbit, from Disney’s “Song of the South.”

Republican lawmakers said on Sunday that the House leadership had one more card to play, but that it was extremely delicate. They can tell Mr. Reid he must accept a face-saving measure, like the repeal of the tax on medical devices, which many Democrats support, or they will send back a new amendment that would force members of Congress and their staffs, and the White House staff, to buy their medical insurance on the new health law’s insurance exchanges, without any subsidies from the government to offset the cost.

Oh no, not the briar patch!

I can’t imagine anything better than forcing everyone in Congress – hell, everyone in the US government – to use the health care reform exchanges.  I argued this during the debate on health care reform three years ago.  Not only is it patently unfair that federal employees receive subsidized insurance, but it’s absurd that Republicans, who regularly complain about socialism taking over America, do as well.

[UPDATE: It appears the NYT didn’t explain the issue well.  The amendment wouldn’t force Congress to buy insurance on the exchanges. They’re already required to under existing law.  The amendment would take away the employer subsidies for said insurance. I’m still not terribly sympathetic.  I worked on the Hill.  And members of Congress, the nice ones at least, treat their staff like their kids (with all the good and bad that that entails).  I still think there’s some merit in members of Congress learning first-hand, via their own families and via their staffs, how expensive health care is for the rest of us.  And while I sympathize with pro-ACA staff, I don’t sympathize with those who were against health care reform.  If they didn’t get a $5000 per person subsidy from the federal government to pay their health insurance every year, perhaps they’d be a tad more willing to consider more far-reaching reform to our health care system, as they’d understand just how god awful expensive it really is.]

There’s a reason that Republicans think our nation’s health care system isn’t broken.  Their health insurance is so cushy that they don’t realize what it’s like for the rest of us.  They have no idea what it’s like to try to get new insurance when you have a pre-existing condition, be it asthma, a broken wrist, or simply being a woman.  40% of Americans have a “pre-existing condition” that would have cost them more for health insurance, or excluded them entirely, on the open market. Members of Congress never had to worry about it.

Of course, the irony is that under the Affordable Care Act, politicians on the Hill will no longer need to worry about pre-existing conditions.  Though they’ll still have to worry about health care being awfully expensive.  But too bad.  My health insurance in DC is awfully expensive too, and I went years without adequate prescription drug coverage (which Obamacare may now fix).  So as far as I’m concerned, let the Republicans put everyone in the federal government into the health care reform exchanges.  Not only will it guarantee that they learn how regular Americans get their insurance, but it will also help the exchanges be all the more affordable for everyone else.

So yes, dear Republicans, do throw us in the briar patch.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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95 Responses to “The “frauds on the Hill” may force Congress to use Obamacare”

  1. InHampden says:

    And safe, don’t forget safe.

  2. Whitewitch says:

    Super – glad you are happy.

  3. InHampden says:

    Those are the things helping to keep us safe. I’m happy.

  4. InHampden says:

    Check with your HR people. You do, in fact, earn a pension as a federal employee, in addition to your TSP. Trust me, I’m not arguing the fact, and I believe you SHOULD earn a pension. But don’t misspeak and say your only retirement is what you put into TSP (with the gov’t match). You also have the Federal Employees Retirement System (again, you won’t get rich off it, but you still get something).

  5. Frank says:

    Uncle Sam please see my question-Do you support all Govt workers being required to sign up as part of their healthcare?

  6. Frank says:

    May I jump in and ask the Fed worker-would you support all govt employees signing on for ACA. I would think the Pres and Congress plus staff would not qualify for a subsidy anyway so?

  7. Tea 4 me says:

    Hey Jeff, your so willing to tell us who you worked for. How about telling us your supervisors name now so we can report all the time you spend on the clock blogging instead of working. Or is your boss blogging too. Reminds me of time I went to the local rec center one evening. The parking lot lights were off and it was pitch black. I noticed lights on inside. Went inside to find 8 government employees doing nothing. I asked why the parking lot was dark. They said “budget cuts”. Genius! Do whatever hurts the taxpayer the most like a spoiled child and sit on your ass and do nothing and collect pay.
    Jeff, why are not responding? Oh you went home to play with your family. You only blog on government time. I guess we’ll hear from you tomorrow.

  8. Guest says:

    You don’t have clue do you? You are a creepy stalker aren’t you. You live in your parents basement don’t you? Get a life loser. Have a good life.

  9. Guest says:

    Once again, you demonstrate your idiocy. I’m furloughed. My agency is shut down because people like you drink the koolaid that people like Ted Cruz are serving. So, once again you’re wrong. Do you ever get tired of looking stupid? Or is that your long suit. Quit while you’re behind. LMFAO.

    By the way, you display your hatred with everything you post. I wasn’t an ambulance chaser. As I mentioned previously, I worked for two different firms, a defense firm and a plaintiffs firm. We didn’t do slip and fall. We did commercial litigation, class action litigation against telecommunication companies who violated state consumer fraud statutes by slamming and cramming their customers. I represented railroad workers who lost their hearing, had their limbs smashed, lost limbs and worse. I hope you never need an attorney but if you do, you might realize that your view of attorneys is just a bad stereotype. You’re an angry, bitter guy. I feel sorry for you. I really do.

  10. Of gov, by gov, for gov says:

    Slam, you’re right on the money. Look back at all post to the blog this guy Jeff Asbed has posted. None on the week end, all during the week in the middle of the afternoon. He keeps repeating over and over ” I’m not getting a raise”. It’s hilarious. Instead of doing his job he cries about how bad everyone treats him and the rest of his leech pals. Hey Jeff, this is what the Tea Party is trying to fix.

  11. Guest says:

    I’m furloughed because of the Tea Party morons and the weakest Speaker of the House in history. You know, the government shutdown? I’m a federal employee? Hello? Can you read? I think I’ve figured out your problem. LOL

  12. Guest says:

    Are you stupid? That isn’t what I said. I work very hard at my current job too. When I am involved in litigation, as I am right now, I often work long hours and weekends. My work is infinitely more interesting now too. What is your problem? You seem to have a real bitter streak. Did you flunk out of school? Did you always want to be a lawyer are couldn’t cut it? Do you have a crappy job where you’re underpaid and overworked? Something is fueling your anger. You don’t know me at all yet you’ve now posted four times today attacking me. Someone needs to get back on their meds or get a life.

  13. uncle slam says:

    Jeff was a hot shot ambulance chaser. That wasn’t abusive enough for the low life so he became a government worker. Taking hard working people’s money to play on his government provided computer. Real noble, you leech.

  14. gov is waste says:

    Hey Jeff, you posted your credentials at 3:30 today. I think you’re suppose to be working at 3: f’n 30 in the afternoon not blogging. Get your lazy government ass back to work. I’s sick of paying you to goof off. I hope you do have to wait for your check.

  15. gov is waste says:

    So you admit that in the private sector you had to work for the big bucks….. but with a government job you get to play with your family. And you know damn well your going to get paid eventually work or no work. The waste in government goes on.

  16. jeff asbed says:

    You must have a pretty pathetic life if you took this much time to engage in such specious speculation. But, for your edification, I was a litigator for a top law firm in St. Louis (Coburn & Croft – now called Thompson Coburn). I did FELA, hearing loss, HAVS, and other defense litigation. I switched sides and worked for a top plaintiffs’ firm (Carr, Korein, & Tillery) and did FELA, medical malpractice, commercial litigation and class action litigation against telecommunications companies. I graduated 8th in my class at St. Louis University School of Law (out of 220 or so students), magna cum laude. You’re free to call the firms or the law school and verify what I’m telling you. But, you won’t because you now know that you opened your big mouth without knowing what you were talking about. You probably do that all the time.

    I became a public servant for a lot of reasons. I wanted to serve my country. I wanted a better quality of life – as a litigator for a top firm all you do is work. It’s an extremely brutal way to make a living but I did it for nearly a decade before getting out. And I have a lot of other reasons, none of which you identified in your screed.

    I love the work I do now, have time to spend with my wife and kids, and make a decent living. Money was never my main motivator in becoming a lawyer so giving up the money I made wasn’t all that painful.

    Here’s a little suggestion for you Mr. Spade. How about thinking before you put your fingers to keyboard. You’ll look infinitely less foolish than you do right now. If you need a contact name at the firms I worked at or at the law school I attended, let me know and I will provide them for you. But, you’ll shrink away now exposed for the fool that you are. The next time you get a notion to try and denigrate someone, pause and then don’t. You just exude hatred and bitterness. I can only imagine how miserable your life must be. But, unlike you, I won’t speculate. That would just be idiotic. Have a great day.

  17. Sam Spade says:

    If your stupid enough to earn 3 times less than what you could make in private practice, then you deserve your fate. So what are we to think?

    Let me guess… the Feds realized that they could provide whatever service you previously provided at 1/3 the cost, thus forcing you to seek employment with the only group who’s providing this service and because your skills are so unique the government is the only place where you use these skills. I doubt very much this the case.

    Possibly you’re not telling the truth about what you previously made, embellishing just enough to gain public sympathy for government workers. Or maybe (just maybe) your skills were not as good as those in the public sector, thus leaving you no other choice but to seek employment with an employer who really demands accountability for job performance.

    I doubt very much you have the mental capacity to succeed in Private Practice, and thus the reason remain sucking the teat of the government.

  18. Whitewitch says:

    Back at you Jeff…and may I say that you are 100% right about pitting us against each other…I think that is there evil plan. <|;o)

  19. jeff asbed says:

    Here here!

  20. jeff asbed says:

    I’m a furloughed Federal worker and I agree with you. I think ALL of it should be shut down – no SS checks, No Medicare, No military pay, no TSA, no air trafffic controllers, no nothing. This crap would be over tomorrow. The GOP is trying to peicemeal the end of the shutdown to make it more comfortable for people, but I can assure you it’s not comfortable for me. I have loyally served my government and country for 17 years. I make 1/3 of what I made in private practice and haven’t had so much as a cost-of-living adjustment in almost 4 years. These people are trying to destroy our federal system and bring back a confederacy of states. I’m sick of this “both sides do it” nonsense. I’m sick of the “they should just negotiate a solution” false equivalency bs. No, you don’t negotiate for hostages. If that’s they way they want to play it, then I hope the next time the Democrats control one house of Congress they shut down the government until we get single payer, gun control legislation, and publically funded elections. What’s good for the goose…

  21. jeff asbed says:

    I love you! :) I feel the same way. We have become a spiteful, petty, divided, selfish country. They are pitting us against each other as a distraction from what they are trying to do to the country.

  22. jeff asbed says:

    The law specific excludes undocumented residents from Obamacare. What upcoming amnesty plan are you talking about? There’s been no agreement on an immigration bill. So, you’re just regurgitating GOP talking points and Tea Party lies.

  23. jeff asbed says:

    Yep, it was proposed as an alternative to that communist Hillarycare! LOL. Heritage Foundation approved, GOP sponsored and now it’s a government takeover of healthcare. Why are any of these tea party nutjobs elected. We are a nation of idiots.

  24. jeff asbed says:

    Not all federal employees are under the same retirement system. I’m under the newer FERS system. I contribute to the TSP (our version of a 401(k)), I get no pension other than what I save. I get my healthcare premium subsidized but that’s part of my compensation. I made 3 times in private practice what I make workikng for the feds. Not sure about the double-dipping. I’m sure not. We haven’t had so much as a cost-of-living adjustment in almost 4 years. We’ve been working longer with less resources, less funding, less personnel. There’s nothing corrupt about what I do or what I receive. If you want to see corruption, check out Wall Street. They ran the country into the ground, got massive bonuses for doing so, got bailed out with taxpayer money, and are still lightly regulated and still “too big to fail”. And, yet, somehow, my federal salary and benefits are corrupt. With all due respect, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Now, I’m still working but not getting paid for it.

  25. leang chea says:

    To the U.S citizen let unite and kick all the republican out congress and fix healthcare in U.S.A.
    we can fund healthcare with the aids money we give to foreign country like Israel , Egypt, and etc.
    we help our U.S citizen first you dam congress!!!!

  26. Bobby ParK says:

    So Obamacare was discussed in an open manner with everyone or was the questioning of it declared blasphemy? This is a two way street and this article is a joke fact wise. Those of us in the middle hate you all.

  27. Emily Pfeffa says:

    There are those who know how to “work” the system and they make out like bandits. I notice this a lot with not just federal employees, but with state employees as well. Drawing pensions: military, civilian, federal, and then going back to “double dip” at high rate of salary. Not just 1 person in household doing this, sometimes husband-wife sometimes husband-wife-siblings. Our government is rife with corruption.

  28. Zorba says:

    And with your spirit.
    Namaste, my sister.

  29. Whitewitch says:

    No worries Zorba – I think we are all having a bit of a meltdown with all this ugliness in the Capital and how they never think about how it affects the average guy – let alone a very nice doctor/researcher that is trying to save people.

    Will They Ever Learn?

    Peace be with you Zorba.

  30. Thom Allen says:

    My best friend did the same thing. He had a thriving private law practice. Decided to switch fields to work for the Feds. I couldn’t believe what his salary there is. He’s making about 30X LESS/year than he made in private practice. Plus, he’s at the top of his salary scale, so he can’t advance. Also dealing with the sequester, bizarre government regulations, even more bizarre government senior staff in his branch, etc. He’s a former Marine and has a strong sense of duty to the US. If he had it to do over again, His health insurance is one of the few good things about his job. I know he’d re-think his choice.

  31. lynchie says:

    We are on the same wave length. Wonder if these people really think at all.

  32. Zorba says:

    Yes, it was the “real employees” that got to me. I’m sorry for my response, but I have gotten very tired of people denigrating all federal employees, and I have become a bit sensitive to the whole thing.
    If my husband had chosen to work for the private sector, with his education and skill-set, he would be making much more money than he is making now. With better health insurance. But he also would not have had the choice to work on HIV-AIDS and other retrovirals, and prevention and drug resistance. He would have had to work on whatever would have made the company the most money. Most basic research does not promise huge returns for companies, so they simply do not do it. Although they do depend upon the government-funded basic research.
    Again, sorry for going off on you, but my husband has been working ten and twelve hour days, often 6 or 7 days a week, trying to help solve the mysteries of some very terrible diseases.

  33. Whitewitch says:

    Glad your husband is doing so much for the health of society..thank you very
    much for judging me as valueless, or at least less valuable than your husband. Rather rude.

    Not really sure what in my post made you so mad. I think all government employees should have the same and equal treatment that all other employees have. Not special treatment, nor WORSE treatment. I am not saying your husband does not deserve Good Pay, Good Health Insurance and a Good Pension. I think it might have been my “real employees”, I think I could have said that better, perhaps just none government employees. I have been both and opted for better pay and worry about the pension later – as a single mom it seemed the right answer….so I know that government employees make less in exchange for the benefits. That seems unfair to me…

  34. Zorba says:

    You don’t know what the fuck you re talking about, Whitewitch. See all my other comments on this thread, and then tell me if you are doing half as much for the health of society as my husband is doing.

  35. Whitewitch says:

    Okay – here you go…there is no upcoming amnesty and the ACA (Obamacare) conspiracy…it is all in your small little heart. You know the one that can’t share and wants everything for itself. There space saved…now you don’t have to post anymore.

  36. ScottColbert says:

    Space? You do know this isn’t a newspaper, there’s as much room for ignorance like yours as the intellect of others. As for wasting time, no one forces you to read the comments.

  37. Corey says:

    ObamaCare Was Originally Proposed By Republicans

  38. mike31c says:

    Why do gop pigs need socialized health care from the government?

  39. Thom Allen says:

    Auntie Em, you got that wrong, too. Why am I not surprised? Did you ever hear the phrase, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . .”?
    So YES everyone is supposed to be the same in that sense. We can easily pay for it: cut back on military spending, tax corporations and the wealthy appropriately, stop givebacks to big business – you should have heard much of this before. But I guess you had your selective hearing turned on and set to the “Radical Conservative” setting.

  40. Thom Allen says:

    Sorry, lynchie, I launched on Auntie Em before I read your reply. She probably won’t reply. I think she’s out negotiating for some rocket launchers to help protect her from those millions of Mexicans who are surrounding her. Or maybe that tornado dropped a house on her.

  41. Thom Allen says:

    “Mexican ilegals (sic) tend to vote . . . ” Uh, Em, illegals can’t vote. So that blows a major part of your argument. No, you’re not disenfranchised (you may want to have someone look up the definition of that word and explain it to you). What happens is that you can still vote, but you’re outnumbered because the opposition party has a larger base. If you’d try thinking, rather than copying and pasting Teabagger BS . . . nah, thinking is beyond you. And if you’d stop fighting the Civil War over with your confederates in your trailer park while you cook up the meth, you’d probably be a lot more calm. Now, go call your Pastor, Fred Phelps, and cry to him.

  42. woodroad34 says:

    Oh, that Darryl Issa comment was soooo interesting. My conservative acquaintance uses that same type of game plan if you even dare to question anything the conservatives say (the amount of spit I’ve had to wipe off my face from his rants!)…it’s a fear-based stance–you’re supposed to be scared of ever questioning them ever again. It may work once, but you get used to it and fight back with calm logic and call their bluff–they don’t expect that. It’s almost like they’re part of a hive mind or received pamphlets on how to respond. They’re lacking control, finesse, and the ability to lead.

  43. lynchie says:

    Poor little girl. Illegal immigrants don’t have the right to vote dimwit. Please give me your choice word. Don’t ever forget we are coming for your guns, every one of them. We want another 20 million immigrants so they outnumber you dumb fuck red neck, racist ass blankets. Then we can vote the Republican Tea baggers into oblivion. I can’t wait. If you go back and finish grade school you might realize there is no such thing as reverse disenfranchised but with a grade 3 education you have a problem stringing coherent sentences together

  44. Bill_Perdue says:

  45. lynchie says:

    well it won’t cost you anything. Go back to the GOP sites and collect your 50 Cents

  46. lynchie says:

    Provide a link other wise stop posting lies

  47. Whitewitch says:

    Ohh sorry thought you wanted to know where your taxes were being spent. And I ask why are you here asking us questions when you could simply Google “Obama’s amnesty plan” yourself. This is a blog – not a classroom. You are simply here to stir the pot…not to find answers. Especially when one google’s “Obama Amnesty Plan” only RWNJ sites come up. So if you are trying to drive traffic to RWNJ sites…I am afraid you loose.

  48. Anna says:

    At the moment – the topic is ObamaCare. If you can’t answer my question regarding the upcoming amnesty and Obamacare, do not post. It’s a waste of valuable space and time.

  49. Whitewitch says:

    Most of your taxes goes to support the military, wars and the NSA. Happy now?

  50. Anna says:

    You are absolutely correct. I am a full-time working American citizen spending my hard-earned wages on taxes, which I have a right to know where it goes. If you’re not following what is going on in the States or do not pay taxes, why are you here? A very basic thing a child can do is search “Obama’s amnesty plan” – whose idea is it?

  51. Whitewitch says:

    I will happily pay for it Ms. Pfeffa! Silly me – I think we should care for the weakest among us, watch for the children who surround us (i.e., plenty of food stamps so they can eat well) and care for the elderly who have paved the roads we now travel. Yes, I am a silly old woman…who works, pays her taxes and rejoices that not all of my taxes go to Killing People in Ugly Wars…yeah evil….heheheheheh

  52. Emily Pfeffa says:

    Offer it to the rest of the planet then. You want EVERYONE to be the same? Fine. YOU PAY FOR IT.

  53. Emily Pfeffa says:

    The Dimocrats want more Mexican illegals up here because Mexican ilegals tend to vote
    Dimocrat. 12 million Mexican illegals and counting! Your Dimocrat President is
    going to open the floodgates to even more illegals from every corner of the planet and if you cannot see that, I have a choice
    word for you, but cannot use it here. But just be mindful that you may
    spark a civil war in this country as certain segments of our society
    are reverse-disfranchised by your Dimocrat RACIST policies.

  54. lynchie says:


  55. lynchie says:

    You are deranged. Obamacare does not cover illegal immigrants you must be either a U.S. citizen or have a green card. The amnesty is not Obama’s. Please spout your lies somewhere else.

  56. Whitewitch says:

    And I think the beyond groovy pensions, and the job security. I always said unless you come in with your undies on your head – it is virtually impossible to get fired from a Government position. Perhaps all these things should change, perhaps they should be paid the scale of other and live as freely as us ohhh soooo lucky Real Employees.

  57. karmanot says:


  58. Whitewitch says:

    Ding ding ding Karmanot!!!! You crazy kid you!

  59. Whitewitch says:

    May I suggest Fox News…since you are clearly not really looking for any answers and rather just posting a question to voice your hatred. Have a nice day Anna.

  60. karmanot says:

    Racist troll is having a sad over concern.

  61. Whitewitch says:

    Actually I have learned a great deal from history. Sorry you don’t like my comment….may I suggest that you pass them by in the future. It is a true statement that Corporations are running this country and that neither party is set to end that. We MUST therefore pick those we support very very carefully…or we might find ourselves in a boat with those who now are trying to obstruct the governance of the Country. Sadly, we are in trying times and more sadly part of those problems are the destroying of unions (some of which they did to themselves and hold some of the responsibility), the desire to do away with minimum wage and the destruction of social safety nets. So jump on my comments if you like….you are not going to affect my opinion by judging me as “not having learned”. Save it!

  62. silas1898 says:

    I agree the status quo bottom line should be maintained for these employees.
    My point is simply that “subsidy” has a bad connotation when language matters. Perceptions can change the debate. IDK, maybe “adjustment”, “re-imbursement”?

  63. Anna says:

    I have many questions which I cannot find answers to. Does anyone know where our comments could be discussed to the public like 60 mins? For instance, I work in a state that has many illegal immigrants waiting for Obama’s amnesty. Since the Obamacare issue, it has enticed more to rush in from Mexico. Amnesty to over 12 million illegals who may not be working (under the table) and having children in America to claim status. How will America balance this to provide for them as they may continue not to work full time? (ex. become students claiming “minority” grants for education, or on disability etc.)

  64. bbock says:

    I think all members of congress and all people appearing on TV news shows, all political think tanks and and party affiliates, workers at all government contractors, etc. should have to pay out of pocket for their own health insurance on the open market, without any employer subsidy, without any of the exchanges or rules changes that emanate from Obamacare (mandatory coverage for pre-existing conditions, etc). THEN they can tell me that making healthcare insurance affordable for people other than them is unfair.

  65. judybrowni says:

    Nope, they’d just learn they have to leap over to lobbyist jobs sooner.

  66. judybrowni says:

    “Both sides do it” is a recipe for more Republicans elected, and more truly appalling governance: it’s apparent you haven’t learned from history

  67. Whitewitch says:

    Oh no the kids are starting to fight in the sandbox again. Darn kids. Look, everyone should have to participate in the Exchanges – EVERYONE….that way all peoples are treated the same. I like all peoples being treated the same.

  68. Whitewitch says:

    No offense, both parties are in it for themselves…they long ago forgot the man on the street and are both busy kissing up to the new Corporate Leaders of this country.

  69. Indigo says:

    Shut it down. Let the chips fall where they might. Then, and only then,
    can the public see what’s going on with this extremely feudish gang of
    hillbillies currently joking their way in the House of Representatives.

  70. Zorba says:


  71. Zorba says:

    Totally agree, MF. See my comment to jeff asbed, previously.
    As I said, I am getting fucking sick and tired of all federal employees getting demonized and lumped in with legislators.
    I sort of wish now that Mr. Zorba has chosen to work for a private company, instead, or at least a university. But I more than respect his decision.

  72. MyrddinWilt says:

    This particular strategem is going to cost staffers about $5000 each. Those are people in low paying jobs in a very expensive town.

    Now if I was a Democratic staffer, this is just one more reason to hate the GOP. But how might you feel if you were on the other side and your millionaire boss has just voted for this grandstanding measure. I suspect the party of the in-it-for-themselves will be rather less sympathetic.

    So I would not be surprised if there was a wave of scandals as aides get their own back on Issa, Vitter, etc.

  73. Zorba says:

    Exactly, Jeff. Mr. Zorba is a federal employee. He also has not had any COLA in four years, and our health insurance premiums have risen all along.
    Mr. Zorba is a molecular biologist, doing research to help people suffering from terrible diseases, like AIDS and cancer. If he had gone into academics, as a professor in a university, he would have made at least twice or more what he is making now. If he had gone to work for a drug company or a biotech, he would have made at least four or five times what he is making now. But no, he decided on government service. I warned him at the time, years ago, that he would not like working for the Feds, but he decided that this was important, and I respected that decision. (Of course, research money for the scientists at the universities and medical schools has also been slashed in the past four years because most of their grants come from the government, so they’re hurting now, too.)
    And I am getting damned sick and tired of people lumping all government employees in with Congress. Fucking sick and tired of it.

  74. sherman says:

    By “this” I was referring to John’s suggestion that federal employees should not have “subsidized insurance”, ie an employer contribution like many private employers. Sorry for the confusion, I support fully what you say.

  75. Monoceros Forth says:

    I’m going to be charitable and assume that the use of “federal employees” in the above post was meant somewhat clumsily to refer only to legislators and their staff and not all civil servants who, as has been pointed out many times below, are receiving health insurance through their employer the same as everyone else. (Well, the same as everyone else who’s lucky to have an employer who provides benefits.)

  76. FedUpFed says:

    Here’s the deal tough, Mr.Aravosis: One of the ways that the government has justified paying federal workers below the market wage for their services (such as doctors, lawyers, nuclear experts, linguists who speak languages critical to catcing terrorists, accountants, IT workers, computer scientists, engineers, and the many others in the federal government who have specialized skills that would command much higher salaries in the private sector) for many decades is that the benefits made up for the low salaries. So if they yank our “subsidized” healthcare as you call it, they need to start paying us what we’re worth on the open market — it’s only fair that if you want to subject us to market forces, it be all the way. Additionally, the federal government needs to set an example to the private sector as to how the employer should pay part of each employee’s health insurance. Why should federal workers be treated any differently than employees of large private commpanies? The only equitable solution, of course, which would never fly with our right wing government, would be to have the provision of a basic level of health insurance for all employees be required of all employers under federal law, and the federal governemnt would subsidize that provision equally across the board. It would be more equitable this way, and you can bet the feds would have a very strong incentive to reign in runaway medical costs and build efficiency and accountability into the system (much like in many European countries, where healthcare is far less expensive, yet outcomes are better) — much like already exists with medicare. But, oh my, this would never fly because 1). It’s — gasp — socialism, and 2). It would drive down profits in the lucrative medical industry, which would be fought tooth and nail by very influential lobbyists — the people whose interests Congress is really protecting.

  77. ronbo says:

    Imagine if HereinDC lived in 1934. We would NOT have Social Security because HereinDC would have advocated the for-profit retirement system supported by the Hoover administration which funneled money into corporate profits and only limited funds occasionally were to be paid back to the investors – occasionally, when profits allowed.

    ACA was originally proposed by the Heritage Foundations to maintain private corporate profit out and away from actual healthcare. It’s (not) really nice to have the corporations writing their own mandates for profit.

    Single-payer systems control costs throughout the rest of the world. In America, no corporation EVER makes enough money to satisfy stockholders. There are thousands of ways for corporations to to bypass any limits to profits – afterall, they wrote most of the legislation.

    How does it feel to be supporting Republican legislation that guarantees/mandates corporations earn money? Health should not be for sale to the lowest bidder and profiteers.

  78. jeff asbed says:

    Well said Jimbo. I used to think this was a progressive/liberal blog. I guess I was wrong about that. John clearly doesn’t understand how federal employees are compensated and how we’ve been treated over the last 4 or 5 years. If so-called liberals don’t even get it, what chance do we have? I might as well retire, cash in my paultry savings, sell the house I hardly have any equity in and go somewhere where the cost of living is cheaper and people are treated like, well, people. There are right wingnuts everywhere. Sickening.

  79. jeff asbed says:

    Not sure how to take your comment sherman. I think it’s the GOP and corporatist democrats that have been trying to pit us against each other. I want everyone to have affordable healthcare. I support single payer for preventative, routine, wellness and emergency healthcare needs and a private market for elective procedures. I don’t want unions busted, I want everyone to be in a good bargaining position when they negotiate wages. I don’t want to divide. I want us to unite against those that are trying to dismantle decades of progress. Maybe I am misundertanding your post. If I am, I apologize.

  80. jeff asbed says:

    Unfortunately, their pay is Constitutionally protected. They thought of everything, huh?

  81. jeff asbed says:

    I agree that those on Congress and the President should have to buy from the exchanges.

  82. bbock says:

    Exactly. Their offices should be shut down, phones turned off. (If it’s illegal for the executive branch to use them during a shutdown, it should be illegal for congress.) Aides sent home. Computers and iPads locked up. Wifi turned off. The only place that should be kept open is the House and Senate chambers to they can vote and fix this. Turn off the senate subway’s and the special members only elevator. Close the dining rooms. Let them eat outside.

  83. seabe says:

    I was just using the terms he used. I’m a federal employee myself, but I still get coverage under my parents’ plan as I’m 25. I’ll be switching to my full compensation package when I turn 26, or during open-season. Haven’t decided yet.

    “Every employee in every business in America has the option of staying with his/her employer-provided and possibly subsidized health plan, or of going to the health insurance exchange, and buying a plan there. Most people will probably stay with the employer plan, unless the subsidy there is totally inadequate.

    Every employee, that is, except for one group: Congresspeople and the people on their staffs. A special provision of ACA requires them to get their insurance from exchanges, instead of the government provided and subsidized plans they now have. Proposed by a Republican Senator and not opposed by Democrats because, well, they screwed up.

    Now, to keep things fair, and to provide these employees with benefits comparable to what they enjoyed prior to the law, the government will provide an subsidy equivalent to that which they previously enjoyed. And the Republicans are calling that ‘favoritism’ and ‘special treatment’. It is neither, it is simply (well, not so simply) preserving the status quo.”

  84. silas1898 says:

    As stated eloquently below, the insurance coverage is part of the compensation package. Using “subsidy” is a loaded term, beloved by wingnuts, to imply that it is not deserved.

    My employer provides a good plan and you can increase coverage out of pocket as fits your needs, as well as the rest of the compensation package. It’s the way Corporate America works.

  85. sherman says:

    This reminds me of Scott Walker’s plan – divide and conquer. Instead of working to get better affordable coverage for everyone, start a conversation pitting federal employees against other people.

  86. seabe says:

    How is it unfair, John? Federal employees have an employer called the US government. Last I checked, private employers subsidize their employees’ coverage a substantial amount (which is part of the reason pay has stagnated). Federal employees’ employer is the federal government; ie, the taxpayer. why shouldn’t they receive these subsidies?

  87. Jimbo2K7 says:

    John, it is unfair for you to crap on federal employees the way you seem to be doing. Are you becoming a tea bagger yourself?

    Your comments indicate that you do not understand who Federal employees are, what they do, and how their insurance is structured. I pay a fortune for my insurance, and those costs have gone up as my salary has been frozen for 4 years. Every year of the pay freeze reduces my eventual retirement. Yeah, I know, who cares?

    FYI, my insurance is not subsidized, it is a part of my pay package, much like other private sector employees. By your definition my whole salary is subsidized, as is every other government employee..

    I am extremely still proud of my 40 years as a government employee, and it is deeply frustrating to see someone like yourself to be so clearly uninformed. Government employees are victims of this right wing extremist hissy-fit temper tantrum as much, maybe even more than anyone else. I expect much better from you.

  88. MichaelS says:

    Could not agree more, thanks for saying that. With all respect to John, it appears he fell into the same trap that many politicians also use, for their own cynical purposes. They claim, for instance (like in Wisconsin), that state employees shouldn’t get pensions because their private industry counterparts don’t get it. And pensions sound like “free money.” Unfortunately, the minor fact that’s ignored in all these cases is that so many public employees who are entitled to pensions got those pensions as part of their COMPENSATION — not an entitlement or a “gift” — and very often in exchange for salary concessions (their salaries, as you rightly point out, don’t begin to compare with the private sector numbers).

    The same argument holds for the health plans offered to federal employees. Absolutely agree with you, those plans are part of the COMPENSATION hard-working federal employees earn.

    However, I would volunteer one slightly different proposal, which I think should have been in place from the start: every Senator, Congressional Representative, and the President should be forced to obtain their care from the exchanges – without subsidy – but don’t punish the other federal workers who had no say in the decision and who make financial concessions already in order to serve the country.

  89. jeff asbed says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I just posted essentially the same thing. Who other than the poor and government employees has sacrificed anything during all these budget battles? We haven’t had so much as a cost-of-living adjustment in over 4 years. My health insurance premiums continue to go up, this year they are slated to go up 54%, and I’m losing ground every year. And this so-called liberal wants me to lose even more. Are there any liberals left in America? Jesus.

  90. jeff asbed says:

    I disagree with you on one point. You said:

    “I can’t imagine anything better than forcing everyone in Congress – hell, everyone in the US government – to use the health care reform exchanges. I argued this during the debate on health care reform three years ago. Not only is it patently unfair that federal employees receive subsidized insurance, but it’s absurd that Republicans, who regularly complain about socialism taking over America, do as well.”

    I practiced law in the private sector for 8 years and made a decision to be a public servant and serve my country. I’ve done so now for 17 years. My salary and cost-of-living adjustments have been frozen for over 4 years now, while my portion of my health insurance premiums have skyrocketed. Mine will go up 54% this year alone. I would be making three times my salary in private practice. One of the reasons I came to work for the federal government was to serve my country. Part of that bargain, giving up a large private sector salary, was that I would get decent benefits, including having a portion of my health insurance premium paid by my employer. Why is that unfair? I don’t get a pension. I have to contribute to the TSP, the government’s version of a 401(k) plan. I’m not under the older pension system. I’m under the newer system that isn’t as generous as the old system. And, you want to take away even more from us?

    Maybe Congress should have to buy from the exchanges. Heck, I wouldn’t mind buying from them either but I shouldn’t have to lose my subsidy because the House GOP is acting like a bunch of thugs. There’s nothing unfair about receiving the subsidy. It’s part of my benefit package. It’s part of the bargain I made for receiving a lot less in salary. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree but I’ve taken enough hits in the last 8 years. When most of the country was riding the prosperity bubble we stil got our measly 1% annual raises. Now, even so-called liberals want to take away even more from us? I work hard for my agency and i’ve been doing it with less and less budget and resources. Enough is enough.

  91. douglas01 says:

    And how about cutting Congressional pay if there is a shutdown?

  92. HereinDC says:

    To all the people who have Heathcare Insurance now BUT oppose the ACA (Obabmacare)….. Will you be contacting your Insurance Company on Oct 1st and have the lifetime cap put back on your Insurance Policy? Will you tell your Insurance Company on Oct 1st to NOT cover your prexisting condition? If you’re so opposed to the ACA…and don’t want to be a hypocrite….then call them on Oct 1st and have those items returned to your policy.

  93. Badgerite says:

    I would heartily support that measure. I think Congress people who make a yearly salary of close to a quarter of a million dollars should have to buy their insurance on the federal exchanges. Works for me. I’m guessing that would work for the President as well and that he would sign such a bill. I still remember Chuck Grassley ( Senator ‘Death Panel’) stating that people who wanted better, affordable health insurance should get a job with the government. He’s all heart.

  94. NCMan says:

    ” I still think there’s some merit in members of Congress learning
    first-hand, via their own families and via their staffs, how expensive
    health care is for the rest of us”

    Actually, they already get their insurance the same way that most of “the rest of us” do. Via their employer with subsidies.

    Your experience, being self-employed, and having to buy your insurance from the individual market is the minority experience. Yes, it’s expensive. But, it’s not the experience that most of us go through.

  95. sherman says:

    “patently unfair that federal employees receive subsidized insurance”

    Yes, dump on federal employees some more, lord knows the Republicons need more support for that.

    Jesus is it discouraging when this is the advice from a “liberal” blog.

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