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  1. Standard member sasquatch672
    Don't Like It Leave
    07 Jan '14 04:27
    This is hilarious.

    OPINION
    I'm Suing Over ObamaCare Exemptions for Congress
    If the president wants to change the health-care law, he must ask Congress to do it.

    By RON JOHNSON
    Jan. 5, 2014 6:06 p.m. ET
    On Monday, Jan. 6, I am filing suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin to make Congress live by the letter of the health-care law it imposed on the rest of America. By arranging for me and other members of Congress and their staffs to receive benefits intentionally ruled out by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the administration has exceeded its legal authority.

    The president and his congressional supporters have also broken their promise to the American people that ObamaCare was going to be so good that they would participate in it just like everyone else. In truth, many members of Congress feel entitled to an exemption from the harsh realities of the law they helped jam down Americans' throats in 2010. Unlike millions of their countrymen who have lost coverage and must now purchase insurance through an exchange, members and their staffs will receive an employer contribution to help pay for their new plans.

    It is clear that this special treatment, via a ruling by the president's Office of Personnel Management, was deliberately excluded in the law. During the drafting, debate and passage of ObamaCare, the issue of how the law should affect members of Congress and their staffs was repeatedly addressed. Even a cursory reading of the legislative history clearly shows the intent of Congress was to ensure that members and staff would no longer be eligible for their current coverage under the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan.


    Getty Images

    The law states that as of Jan. 1, 2014, the only health-insurance plans that members of Congress and their staffs can be offered by the federal government are plans "created under" ObamaCare or "offered through an Exchange" established under ObamaCare.

    Furthermore, allowing the federal government to make an employer contribution to help pay for insurance coverage was explicitly considered, debated and rejected. In doing so, Congress established that the only subsidy available to them would be the same income-based subsidy available to every other eligible American accessing insurance through an exchange. This was the confidence-building covenant supporters of the law made to reassure skeptics that ObamaCare would live up to its billing. They wanted to appear eager to avail themselves of the law's benefits and be more than willing to subject themselves to the exact same rules, regulations and requirements as their constituents.

    Eager, that is, until they began to understand what they had actually done to themselves. For instance, by agreeing to go through an exchange they cut themselves off from the option of paying for health care with pretax dollars, the way many Americans will continue to do through employer-supplied plans. That's when they went running to President Obama for relief. The president supplied it via the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which issued a convoluted ruling in October 2013 that ignores the clear intent and language of the law. After groping for a pretext, OPM essentially declared the federal government a small employer—magically qualifying members of Congress for coverage through a Small Business Health Options Program, exchanges where employers can buy insurance for their employees.

    Neat trick, huh? Except that in issuing the ruling, OPM exceeded its statutory jurisdiction and legal authority. In directing OPM to do so, President Obama once again chose political expediency instead of faithfully executing the law—even one of his own making. If the president wants to change the law, he needs to come to Congress to have them change it with legislation, not by presidential fiat or decree.

    The legal basis for our lawsuit (which I will file with a staff member, Brooke Ericson, as the other plaintiff) includes the fact that the OPM ruling forces me, as a member of Congress, to engage in activity that I believe violates the law. It also potentially alienates members of Congress from their constituents, since those constituents are witnessing members of Congress blatantly giving themselves and their staff special treatment.

    Republicans have tried to overturn this special treatment with legislation that was passed by the House on Sept. 29, but blocked in the Senate. Amendments have also been offered to Senate bills, but Majority Leader Harry Reid refuses to allow a vote on any of them.

    I believe that I have not only legal standing but an obligation to go to court to overturn this unlawful executive overreach, end the injustice, and provide a long overdue check on an executive that recognizes fewer and fewer constitutional restraints.

    Sen. Johnson is a Republican from Wisconsin.

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  2. 07 Jan '14 14:32
    What's hilarious? Some senator acts like a five-year old who does not get candy from his mommy and in the process wastes everyone's time and the taxpayer's money.
  3. Standard member sasquatch672
    Don't Like It Leave
    07 Jan '14 19:06 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    What's hilarious? Some senator acts like a five-year old who does not get candy from his mommy and in the process wastes everyone's time and the taxpayer's money.
    So, now, an elected official expecting Congress to live by the laws it passes is called throwing a temper tantrum?


    I know, I know...those bloody Republicans...standing in the way of Progress...
  4. 07 Jan '14 19:32
    Originally posted by sasquatch672
    So, now, an elected official expecting Congress to live by the laws it passes is called throwing a temper tantrum?


    I know, I know...those bloody Republicans...standing in the way of Progress...
    If an elected official acts like a dictator in order to do good, it is childish to oppose.

    A few months ago, the Republicans tried to defer Obama Care and many pundits ridiculed them noting that it was the "law of the land". Now, Obama is unilaterally changing the law of the land. None of the people that defended ObamaCare in October because it was the "law of the land" are bringing up that argument now.
  5. Standard member sasquatch672
    Don't Like It Leave
    07 Jan '14 21:20
    Originally posted by techsouth
    If an elected official acts like a dictator in order to do good, it is childish to oppose.

    A few months ago, the Republicans tried to defer Obama Care and many pundits ridiculed them noting that it was the "law of the land". Now, Obama is unilaterally changing the law of the land. None of the people that defended ObamaCare in October because it was the "law of the land" are bringing up that argument now.
    No, Obama's sycophants on MSNBC are all lauding his political genius.
  6. 08 Jan '14 03:24
    Let’s say that you are a healthy, hardworking 54-year-old single adult in San Francisco earning $45,960 per year—the income level at which federal Obamacare subsidies from your fellow taxpayers are no longer available to help you pay your monthly health-insurance premiums. As a San Francisco resident, you are permitted to choose from among 16 separate Obamacare-compliant insurance plans. Four of these are so-called “Bronze” plans, low-level policies whose average premium will cost you $453 per month, or $5,436 per year. In exchange for those premium payments, a Bronze plan will cover 60% of your medical expenses—that is, after you meet the $5,000 out-of-pocket annual deductible. For this priceless peace of mind, you can thank Obamacare—the Democratic Party’s gift to a grateful America.

    Let us contrast your case with that of Joe, another 54-year-old single individual in San Francisco, who happens to be an obese alcoholic and longtime drug abuser with little ambition and no history of ever having held a full-time job for very long. Joe currently earns $15,860 per year, which is just above the income level that would have made him eligible for Medicaid. Because Joe doesn’t qualify for Medicaid, Obamacare stipulates that he must now purchase his own health insurance—thereby proving that, contrary to the shrill rhetoric of conservative naysayers, no one gets an undeserved free ride under Obamacare.

    Like you, Joe can choose from among 16 separate plans that are available to San Francisco residents. But unlike you, he is eligible to receive federal government subsidies—money that other, wealthier Americans, such as you, magnanimously “contribute” toward the healthcare expenses of financially “disadvantaged” individuals. If he selects one of the four Bronze plans (whose average monthly premium is $453), Joe qualifies for $452 in average monthly subsidies—meaning that, regardless of which Bronze plan he chooses, he will pay a monthly premium of exactly $1. You read that correctly. The very same healthcare plan that would cost you $453 per month, is available to Joe for $1 per month—i.e., the cost of three oatmeal-raisin cookies at your local Subway sandwich shop. Over the course of a year, you will pay a total of $5,436 in policy premiums, while Joe, who sadly failed to qualify for free healthcare through Medicaid, will pay his own fair share of $12. This is all in the interest of social justice, you understand. And please, don’t even think about whispering that Obamacare might be some sort of “wealth redistribution” scheme, lest you expose yourself as a petulant reactionary who doesn’t give a damn about sick people.

    Oh, imagine what a wonderful world it would be if we could somehow transfer this same brand of Obamacare-style fairness to realms other than health insurance. In such a utopia, for example, the $25,000 new automobile that you purchase would cost a deserving soul like Joe just $55. Your $100 nightly fee at a motel would be 45 cents for Joe. And the $25 hardcover book you purchase at Barnes & Noble would set Joe back about a nickel. What’s that, you say? These items aren’t life-and-death necessities, like medical care, and thus don’t serve as useful analogies? Good point! Let’s stick with real necessities, such as food and housing: The same load of groceries that costs you $250 would cost Joe 55 cents. Your $1,200-per-month rent or mortgage payment would be available to Joe for about $2.65 a month. And the $250,000 home you seek to buy could be Joe’s for about $552. Yes, we’re talking about a veritable paradise of fairness!
  7. 08 Jan '14 03:40
    Originally posted by sasquatch672
    So, now, an elected official expecting Congress to live by the laws it passes is called throwing a temper tantrum?


    I know, I know...those bloody Republicans...standing in the way of Progress...
    I don't think it's throwing a temper tantrum, but I question the sincerity of such a law suit.

    I see a lot of talk in the GOP but no action. Translated, the is nothing but talking points that will go no where, much like legions of Republicans and even democrats saying that Obama is not following the Constitution.

    After a while, people just begin to tune it all out because nothing is ever done about anything.