News broke late last evening about the debate playing out over Obamacare and whether members of Congress and their staffs will get special treatment.
Lawmakers and staff can breathe easy — their health care tab is not going to soar next year. The Office of Personnel Management, under heavy pressure from Capitol Hill, will issue a ruling that says the government can continue to make a contribution to the health care premiums of members of Congress and their aides, according to several Hill sources. A White House official confirmed the deal and said the proposed regulations will be issued next week.
Yet a detailed analysis of this issue by Heritage Foundation experts found that the Office of Personnel Management does not have the legal authority to do what the Obama Administration promised Congress last night.
Furthermore, it is mighty curious that word of the Obama Administration “solving” Congress’ problem was suddenly leaked to a couple reporters at 9 p.m. — just hours before the release of Heritage’s report (embargoed copies of which had been given to the media).
If the Administration really thinks it has a legal way under Obamacare for the federal government to continuing paying for the health care of members of Congress and their staff, why didn’t they issue the regulations at any point over the last three years?
It’s not like the Administration just found out about this particular Obamacare issue. Indeed, only 10 days after the President signed Obamacare into law, attorneys with the Congressional Research Service issued a 13-page memo to Congress detailing the numerous problems with this one provision.
Yet here it is, now 60 days before the start of enrollment in the exchanges, and the Administration is promising to issue regulations in another week or so.
The Administration’s strategy appears to be one of deliberately flouting the law, in the belief that it can get away with it because Congress will be the beneficiary and the American public won’t catch on to what they are doing.