And now for the ironic news story of the day, courtesy of the Law of Unintended Consequences.
A number of Republican lawmakers have come forward expressing anger that 103 of the 112 health care plans their staffs are required to choose from under the ACA include abortion insurance. What’s ironic about that, you ask? Congressional staffers are only forced to choose from these policies because of an amendment added to the ACA by Republicans.
The amendment was added in 2010 during early debates over the ACA. Originally, the state-run healthcare exchanges were only meant to offer insurance plans to the uninsured. Anyone in the country with an existing insurance plan – Congressional staffers included – would be excluded from the exchanges. But Republican lawmakers, led by Sen. Chuck Grassley, claimed this set up equated to Democrats exempting themselves from the very law they set up. Grassley and GOP lawmakers added an amendment to the ACA forcing congressional staffs off the Federal Health Benefits program.
The amendment was never supposed to pass. Rather, it was meant to make a statement about the ACA and embarrass Democrats. But Democrat lawmakers essentially called Grassley’s bluff and let the amendment ride through. Three years later, Republican lawmakers are left complaining about an amendment they created in the first place.
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Republican lawmakers are now saying the abortion insurance offered to congressional staffers violates the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment expressly forbids the Federal Health Benefits Program from funding abortion coverage. But, the Office of Personnel Management has made it very clear that no federal funds given to staffers to help pay for their policies will go towards abortion insurance. Staffer insurance policies will ensure that the abortion insurance provision will only be funded by the deductibles paid by staffers themselves.
You can’t make this stuff up.