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No Thanks Obamacare: The rest of us won’t have “the same health care” as Congress

Two Colorado organizations, Progress Now and the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI) have produced a nice-looking website and video to promote their “Thanks Obamacare” campaign. The website lists ten reasons to “thank Obamacare.” In this post I address the first one:

1. “Congress will have same health care as the rest of us.”
In 2014, Americans will have access to the same health care choices as Members of Congress.  Individuals will be able to purchase insurance through Affordable Insurance Exchanges … Members of Congress will also get their coverage through the exchanges.

Progress Now and the CCHI waste no time in making inaccurate statements.  Here they conflate health care with health insurance.  Insurance companies don’t perform surgeries. Surgeons do.

Further, does anyone really think that given how politically controlled medical care and insurance are in this country, that “Congress will have same health care as the rest of us”? Please.  When people enrolled in Medicaid (which Obamacare expands) and Medicare cannot find a doctor, members of Congress will be able to pull strings to get the care they need. In countries with single-payer medicine, which President Obama wants, the rich still get better care.

To make matters worse, “the rest of us” won’t even have the same health plan choices as congress. As the New York Times reported in July, 2011:

Trumpeting the advent of the exchanges, the administration said Monday that they would “give Americans the same insurance choices as members of Congress.” However … health officials acknowledged that this claim was not necessarily correct. …

Under the law, members of Congress must generally get their coverage through an exchange. But a small business could legally choose a level of coverage lower than those offered to federal employees, including members of Congress.

Under the rules, an employer may allow employees to choose any health plan at a given level of coverage. But an exchange may also allow an employer to limit its workers to one or two health plans — far fewer than the number available to members of Congress and other federal workers.

Worse yet, if government officials follow the letter of the Obamacare law, people in states that do not establish exchanges (see current status of exchanges in states, ND and LA are out.) will not be eligible for subsidized premiums in a federal exchange.