Obamacare, Gold Plans and Demagoguery

If you want an absolutely perfect example of demagoguery, look no further than the wingnut outrage over Congress and their staff getting subsidized access to the Affordable Care Act’s Gold Metal plan. The Worldnetdaily put up half an article linking to the full article at The Hill about this on the regulations issued on this matter.

Regulations issued by the Obama administration this week would require members of Congress to buy one of the top-tier insurance plans from the ObamaCare exchanges.

The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of the House sent guidance to members of Congress this week, based on a directive from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), that says they must choose plans from the “gold” level of insurance coverage, not “bronze” or “silver” plans. “Platinum” is the only higher level of coverage under the exchanges.

Cue the unjustified outrage from their readers, who fill the comment section with ignorance and inanity. Let me make something clear and hope they read this slowly and sound out the words: Members of Congress, their staffs and most other federal employees already get health insurance. They always have. It’s part of the benefits package that comes with the job, just like every comparable position in the private sector. The Republicans insisted on kicking them out of the long-existing public employee group insurance plan and into the health care exchanges set up by the ACA. But the government — which is their employer, for crying out loud — is still going to pay most of the cost of those policies just like they always have. This is not some luxurious benefit at taxpayer expense, it’s the same expense we have always had for government employees. If we didn’t provide that subsidy to them, as some Republicans are demanding, it would mean they get a big cut in pay.

And the Gold Metal plan only means that the policy will cover 80% of their medical costs, which is a standard insurance policy. It’s probably a worse policy than what they’ve had prior to this. But the demagoguery on this, the irrational claim that public employees are getting some luxury plan that the rest of us don’t get, is coming through loud and clear to the wingnut base.

What happened to the Obama pitch that this pile of manure was to provide basic coverage for those who couldn’t afford health insurance? Now we are subsidizing “Cadillac” plans? What a disgusting crock of crap! Obamacare should be ONLY a basic plan. If you want more, pay for it yourself! Why must the taxpayer be responsible for buying “Gold” when most of us, thanks to the Liberal spendthrifts, are having some difficulty paying our bills and buying food for our families? Obama, I hope that your 72 virgins all look like Pelosi, though even that would be too good for you!…

‘oh what a tangled web we weave…’ the government just keeps hoping we are all as stupid as they think we are!

You are. And this proves it. Jesus, I’m tired of this crap.

13 comments on this post.
  1. gshelley:

    This seems to be a slightly more accurate version of the meme that has been going round for a few weeks, that Obama and Congress are exempt from the ACA, and the move by some of the Republicans to ensure that the Federal Government is not allowed to offer Healthcare and that the staff be forced onto the exchanges.
    I have wondered, if they got their way, would the government then be required to give an equivalent subsidy towards purchase on an exchange as they are giving currently, or would the employees be expected to get much worse health insurance at higher price, just so those on the right can make a petty and spiteful point.

  2. zenlike:

    I’m getting tired just reading the condensed bullshit after it has passed through the filter of your blog, Ed, I can perfectly imagine how much worse it is if you constantly follow all of it at the source.

  3. eric:

    I have wondered, if they got their way, would the government then be required to give an equivalent subsidy towards purchase on an exchange as they are giving currently

    That seems to be what’s going on here. The USG is going to put in $X per employee, just as before. That kicks them up into the ‘gold’ range, so they direct all of their employees to pick plans from that range. This is really not much different from how other employer-based insurance works. For example, I have about four choices (two HMOs and two PPOs). I don’t get to pick a plan that offers *less* coverage than those four. I can choose none of the above (if, for example, I plan on using my spouse’s coverage instead), but my company does not allow me to choose to get lesser coverage for a lesser price.

  4. lorn:

    As typical the GOP causes a problem, then complains about it.

    The GOP demanded that congress, despite everyone already having employer provided insurance, get its insurance through the exchanges. The idea was that if the lawmakers and staff were included they would be less inclined to vote for the CA.

    Of course, as you point out, the original insurance was part of a pay and benefits pack age and giving the insurance up amounts to a huge drop in compensation. In effect the GOP demanded that heir own staff take a pay cut. The administration, being somewhat more sensitive to working people having their pay cut arbitrarily, demanded that the funds that were allocated to insurance in the original pay package be available for use within the ACA exchange. In effect this restores most of the value of the pay package for those effected.

    And yes, the GOP voters are stupid. They are willfully so. Because they are more interested in finding some alleged unfairness to harp upon than learning the fact and observing their own unfairness when they capriciously and callously cut the benefits package to their own staff in an attempt to poison the deal to keep the ACA from passing.

    Willfully so and doubled down on the stupid because this affect of concern over fairness is entirely made up. They don’t give a tinker’s damn about fairness as long as they think they can win a few political points. Cutting funding to Meals-on-Wheels and Headstart didn’t even cause them to blink. It is all about winning point in the game. Bastards.

  5. Area Man:

    Even worse, the amendment that forces Congressional staff to use the exchanges was intended as a bluff. The Republicans expected the Democrats to vote against the amendment so they could say, “See, Obamacare is so bad that the Democrats refuse to use it themselves!” But then the Dems called their bluff and voted in favor of it.

    So not only were Republicans putting politics above the public interest, they failed even in that small task. The result is that they inflicted pointless damage without even a zero-sum gain.

  6. Michael Heath:

    lorn writes:

    As typical the GOP causes a problem, then complains about it.

    Another example was on 60 Minutes last evening. Some people are abusing federal disability benefits. 60 Minutes claimed the rate of abuse was significantly due to people exhausting their unemployment benefits and not being able to find work. This wasn’t the sole root cause just a supposed primary one; another was lawyers figuring out how to get fraudulent claims approved.

    Sen. Tom Coburn, a primary reason fiscal policy in this country has kept our labor market and economic growth rates suppressed, is the leader seeking to get rid of the disability abuse. Coburn’s hypocrisy is further amplified because he and his Republican allies are fiercely opposed to Obamacare’s being chartered with cutting $500 billion of abuse from Medicare, which they falsely claimed was Obama cutting benefits to retirees. So the GOP is a yes to ridding us of disability abuse, but a no to far worse abuse through Medicare while also no on fixing the labor market which creates this need in the first place.

  7. Modusoperandi:

    ITS BAD ENOUGH THAT OBAMA IS FORCING THEM TO GO ON THE OBAMACARE THAT THEYRE EXEMPT FROM, BUT NOW HES JUST GIVING THEM ACCESS TO OBAMACARES BEST TERRIBLE PLANS!

  8. exdrone:

    “Platinum” is the only higher level of coverage under the exchanges.

    Because the government option and single-payer scheme have been taken off the table.

  9. DaveL:

    Coburn’s hypocrisy is further amplified because he and his Republican allies are fiercely opposed to Obamacare’s being chartered with cutting $500 billion of abuse from Medicare

    Five hundred billion? Over what timeframe?

  10. Michael Heath:

    Me earlier:

    Coburn’s hypocrisy is further amplified because he and his Republican allies are fiercely opposed to Obamacare’s being chartered with cutting $500 billion of abuse from Medicare . . .

    DaveL responds:

    Five hundred billion? Over what timeframe?

    I was working from memory where that was the CBO prediction in 2011. It’s now $716 billion. Politifact:

    In 2011, the CBO determined that the federal health care law would reduce Medicare outlays by $507 billion between 2012 and 2021. In a more recent estimate released this year, the CBO looked at the years 2013 to 2022 and determined the health care law affected Medicare outlays by $716 billion.
    Link: http://goo.gl/wsJ7w

  11. democommie:

    Michael Heath’s point (along with his citation) is something that PROVES that the gummint can’t keep their hands offa MY Medicare!! {;>)

    Seriously, one of the persistent memes in ReiKKKwingnuttia is that the ACA will force them, the GOOD, hardworkin’, don’t take no frikkin’ subsidies from nobody, DESERVING MurKKKans to pay for alla the free medical care that THOSE people are getting!

    It seems that the same group whose “champions” push the “invisible hand” (the OTHER invisible hand, the one that’s NOT up their assses) theory of the “market” making everything work don’t get that a primary reason for soaring medical insurance and medical costs is that NOBODY likes to work for nothing, including those poor HCA’s.and insurance companies. Morons.

  12. Modusoperandi:

    democommie “Michael Heath’s point (along with his citation) is something that PROVES that the gummint can’t keep their hands offa MY Medicare!! {;>)”
    Good: Romney once attacked Obama both for cutting Medicare and for not tackling entitlements in the same paragraph of the same speech.
    Better: the GOP ran against Obama on it, even though Ryan & Romney’s plan kept something like 94% of those “cuts”.
    Best: they put them back (or said they would) after being repeatedly called on it, for which the media, being the watchdogs, immediately attacked them for pork and not cutting waste in government. (Note: not that last bit)

  13. Joe Peters:

    “if lawmakers and staff want to continue to receive help paying their premiums from the federal government, they must buy a “gold” plan…”

    They can choose to take the Bronze or Silver plans, if they give up their Govt subsidy that helps them pay for the Gold plans they get, if they claim the Govt Subsidy. The same subsidy that no one else but them is getting, btw.

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