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How sweet is this? Congress may have inadvertently excluded itself from any coverage in healthcare bill

Emergency Room Sign Remember during that ever-civil healthcare debate that lasted for 10% of this entire century when Democratic House Speaker Nancy "I Feel Fine, Why?" Pelosi said they'd have to pass President Obama's healthcare legislation in order for us to find out what was in it?

Well, how do you say "Ooops!" in San Franciscan?

Turns out, those 2,800 precious pages of paper may well contain arcane provisions that deny all members of Congress, their staffs and other federal employees access to the wonderful healthcare plan they've given themselves exclusively all these years while the rest of us commoners made do with what we had or didn't have?

From the perpetually-diligent Robert Pear comes shocking but strangely delicious word that.... their eagerness to impose what Washington thinks is the proper kind of healthcare on all Americans, these currently-elected members of Congress may have screwed themselves out of the separate comprehensive coverage they thought they were going to get to keep for themselves.(See congressional reaction in photo below.)

Moreover, as for its job evaluation, in the precise prose of Pear:

The confusion raises the inevitable question: If they did not know exactly what they were doing to themselves, did lawmakers who wrote and passed the bill fully grasp the details of how it would influence the lives of other Americans?

A series of recent polls have shown that a majority of Americans like the yet-to-be-implemented Obama healthcare bill so much that they'd like to have it repealed.

Nevada Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Such an argument, also involving possibly not funding it, are certain to be key debate topics between Republicans and Democrats from now through the Nov. 2 midterm elections.

Obama, whose performance is now approved by slightly less than half of Americans, has nothing at stake that day -- indeed, other Democrats have asked him to stay away from their congressional campaigns.

But his Democratic Party sure does, controlling as it currently does healthy majorities in both the House and the Senate that the president strongly urged to vote for his plan.

Now, Pear of the N.Y. Times has obtained an 8,100-word memo from the Congressional Research Service finding that the new law may well "remove members of Congress and Congressional staff" from their current comprehensive plan long before an alternative is available.

The law does provide for people to retain the health coverage they like, as long as it exists anyway. But the memo says Congress may have inadvertently not only excluded itself but not specified an effective date.

This could force Pelosi and Harry "Andrei, you've lost another submarine?" Reid to take up the Obama healthcare bill a third time. And this repair effort would place Democrats on the awkward side of restoring special programs for members of Congress only, a prospect no doubt relished by the Republican minority pushing for its own November change to believe in.

Related item:

Voter approval of Congress surges when members leave on vacation

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Associated Press; Getty Images.

Comments () | Archives (4)

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I wouldn't use the words inadvertently. Lets be honest. President Obama was asked at one of his town hall meetings, if he and his family could opt out, would they opt out of the plan ? He answered yes. That my good friend is documented. Congress always exempts themselves. Subsequently, a bill came out that would make congress remove the exemption. Congress is just backpedaling not to look like fools like they did by leaving out the preexisting condition clause. Which by the way, only fines insurance company's $100 a day for not following the policy. Not bad when some procedures cost 50,000. How about the insurance company's get criminal charges, like those who refuse to buy insurance.

Your article is misleading in so many other ways, but i honestly don't have time. I just have to say, good luck keeping your existing insurance plan when 2014 arrives.

P.S. Can anyone name the individual(s) who wrote the bill? I haven't seen anyone take credit for it.

In the grand scheme of things it makes no difference because whoever voted for this bill will be voted out next election by the majority of the American People.

This article has all the integrity of a Fox News hit piece. Based entirely on Robert Pears NYT commentary on 4/13/10, it states as fact that Congress will be denied health care when in fact the bill language is simply ambiguous. Since the Feds usually interpret the law in their favor, the cute jabs at Pelosi and Reid have literally no chance of coming to pass. The only truth is that the bill does have flaws that will need to be corrected, but Americans will be much better off as costs for the existing uninsured Americans through a patchwork of local, state, federal, and higher premiums of insurance companies and hospitals to subsidize health care in the emergency room. Americans also get a bonus in productivity and tax revenue as sick people can't work and earn taxable income.

I'm reminded of the apropos H.L. Mencken quote: “Congress consists of one third, more or less, scoundrels; two thirds, more or less, idiots; and three thirds, more or less, poltroons.”

Who knew 2800 pages of healthcare would have so many surprises ?

Congress forced out of their gold-plate plan ? How sweet... but of course Congress will quickly move to EXEMPT themselves from Obamacare... that will really please the American public.

I learned this week, 13 million students apparently will face higher interest rates and loan charges due to the last minute Government takeover of students loans. Apparently interest rates will climb above 6% from 3% and cost students and their parents thousands more for their loans. Of course, this will no doubt shock many liberal supporters of healthcare.

They really meant what they said... pass the bill and we can find out whats in it.

Who knew ? there were so many surprises ? Methinks Democrats will be surprised in November.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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