Fedblog FedblogFedblog
Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

Health Care for Obama?

ARCHIVES

Already, the health care bill which President Obama signed into law today would kick members of Congress out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, and onto the state-based exchanges which the law will establish.

But Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, doesn't think that's enough. Grassley is promising to offer an amendment to the law, which would require senior administration officials, including cabinet members, and the president himself to enter into the exchanges. He'll offer his amendment as the Senate considers a package of amendments to the law this week.

"It's pretty unbelievable that the President and his closest advisors remain untouched by the reforms they pushed for the rest of the country," Grassley sad in a released statement.

Because of how the process works, Senate Democrats are going to try to avoid making many extensive changes to the reconciliation package, so cabinet members shouldn't worry about ditching FEHBP just yet.

As for whether Obama himself would participate in the exchanges -- in a July 22 health care conference a reporter asked him a similar question, whether he'd be willing to enroll in the public option, the government-run health care program then under consideration. Obama said he'd be "happy" to, but then implied it might be a bit impractical for the leader of the free world.

"I'm the president of the United States, so I've got a doctor following me every minute," Obama told reporters.

Grassley's amendment would also address what has become a growing brouhaha here in D.C.-land -- the fact that only some Congressional staffers might be covered by this new prohibition.

As the Hotline On Call blog notes, the precise wording of the language might only apply to those who work directly for senators and representatives -- not leadership staff or those who work on committees. (In Congress, the difference between staffer for a lawmaker and a staffer for a committee can sometimes be fuzzy.)

An anonymous Democratic aide on the blog blames the loophole on the original amendment, offered by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Tom Coburn, R-Okla. I'll just note that their initial amendment, offered during the Senate Finance Committee markup, included a much broader definition of staffer: "an employee whose pay is disbursed by the Secretary of the Senate or the Clerk of the House of Representatives."

But the version signed into law today only would apply to members of Congress and "full-time and part-time employees employed by the official office of a Member of Congress, whether in Washington, DC or outside of Washington, DC."

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.