Common Sense Conspiracy doesn’t harbor a specific opinion about the Affordable Care Act that is commonly referred to by many as Obamacare. We certainly think that the more people that can afford health care insurance, the better, but we also typically oppose government mandating of things that seem like they should be a person’s choice to make. Our biggest advice to those still on the fence about Obamacare is to wait and see. The implementation has been rocky at best thus far, and the Republican Party is still pulling out all the stops to try to repeal the law or at least eliminate its funding. Time will tell whether Obamacare turns out to be a positive or negative for America, but the most likely outcome is that it will vary on a person-by-person basis.
Having said all that, we do want to address a common story circulated on the Internet, especially via email and social media. Many have referred to this mystical vote where Congress elected to make itself exempt from the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. It sounds pretty sinister on the surface; Congress voted to exempt itself from a law that says that everyone must either buy their own insurance of purchase government-subsidized insurance or, the controversial third option, pay a fine to the IRS for failure to comply with the law. If this were true, it would be an absolute travesty, and the ultimate harbinger that Congress itself knows damn well that Obamacare is a farce. The only problem is that the vote never happened.
There was a never a vote held to include or exclude Congress from Obamacare’s provisions. Congress gets away with all sorts of fringe benefits, but they still are forced to follow laws that apply to everyone. Obamacare is one of those. Fortunately for Congress, in most cases, the insurance they already had by being federal employees will almost definitely qualify as acceptable under the new law. Employees of the government already received government-subsidized health care insurance. That sounds like a great deal and that they are getting a special benefit, but millions of Americans receive health insurance through employer-subsidized plans, whether they realize it or not. Since these employees work for the federal government, it is their employer. Meaning, their plan is not that much better or that much worse than the average Joe. This goes for Congress as well. It is, however, a whole lot better than those that cannot afford health care insurance on their own salary and have no subsidization available to them. These are the people that Obamacare is purported to help out.
So, the final word on the issue is pretty simple: Congress is subject to all provisions of Obamacare. However, their current government-subsidized insurance packages already meet all of the requirements, and because their salaries are far, far over the range for further aid when the new law takes effect, the net change for Congress, and most federal employees for that matter, is zero.
As for President Obama himself, the same applies. He is subject to his own law; however, he is rich and probably purchases health care insurance privately that is better than anything We the People could offer him. Most of Congress probably opts out and goes their own route also, because, hey, they can do that because they have plenty of money.
Obamacare only mandates that you must get health insurance of be penalized. For rich Americans, neither of those two will be burdensome. They will do what they did before. No one is being forced to accept government-provided insurance in lieu of their current policy. However, there are probably millions of lower income households that might find that the government-subsidized insurance is a better option, at least financially.
So, the next time you see one of those Facebook posts rallying you around the cause of making Congress answerable to their own laws, what they really want is for you to push the “Like” button.
Having said all of this, if you have a problem with Obamacare, you are not alone. There are many, many Americans on both sides of the political spectrum that have a problem with this law. Just make sure that you are educated on the issue and not complaining about the law when you have no idea what it entails.