Letter: Obamacare will be big success

I’m predicting that Obamacare is going to be a smashing success. Normally, I wouldn’t go out on a limb like this but, the level of anti-Obamacare spin, misstatement and outright lies coming from the Republicans makes me pretty certain.

Since the GOP is rapidly becoming the party of angry, old, white men who sometimes wear goofy tri-corner hats, they really can’t afford to allow the Democrats to give us another lifesaving social program that becomes part of the fabric of our society. They have to stop Obamacare even if they shut down the government and default on our debt in the process.

A sample of the nonsense being distributed came to me in the form of an email from our Republican Sen. David Vitter. His email cited “lobbying and scheming” in D.C. that resulted in a “special rule to ease the pain of Obamacare — for Washington only.”

This sounds particularly mysterious and nefarious. It would be if it were true — which it is not.

Here is what actually happened. When Obamacare was being debated in Congress, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa proposed an amendment that would force the employees of Congress to purchase their insurance from an insurance exchange and from no other source. The plan was for the Democrats to object to this and vote it down, thus supplying the Republicans with “evidence” that the Democrats were protecting the fat-cat government employees at everyone else’s expense. Lo and behold — the Democrats signed on to the proposal and it passed.

Unfortunately, this put congressional workers in a unique and unfair position. Under this rule, they would be the only workers in America who couldn’t receive health insurance from their employer. When the employer mandate goes into effect in 2015, every organization with more than 50 workers will have to provide health-care insurance to their employees.

Since Congress employs a lot more than 50 people, they would have had to pay up (which they already do).

When the Grassley rule was sent to the Office of Personnel Management, an independent office that oversees the health benefits of federal government employees, the OPM issued a rule clarification stating that Congress could continue to pay for its employees’ health insurance — just as every other employer in the U.S. can. There’s no “new” subsidy as Sen. Vitter claims.

As usual, I urge readers to do their own research. If you do, you will find that my facts are true and Sen. Vitter’s are not.

By the way, if you run across anything Rush Limbaugh has to say on this subject — ignore it. He’s lying about this too.

Surprise, surprise.

Michael Hale

IT consultant

Baton Rouge