The Ramblings of a Mad Man

Posts tagged “lakeland

From House Republicans: One Proposal Not Offered


September 28, 2013, 6:56 PM

WASHINGTON—When House Republicans laid out their terms on Saturday for funding the federal government, one widely discussed idea wasn’t among them.

Proposals to delay the new federal health law and repeal a tax on medical devices were included in the GOP plan. But House Republicans skipped ending government contributions to offset the costs of health-care premiums paid by lawmakers and their staffs. Although touted by some lawmakers, that proposal proved to be deeply unpopular among the Republican ranks.

Although some Republicans publicly clamored for the change, many resisted doing so privately, said Rep. Dennis Ross, a Florida Republican. He had pushed this week to attach a measure limiting federal health-care contributions to lawmakers, staff and to some White House officials to the short-term federal spending bill, but he found few supporters.

“I can tell you that I’m not popular with staff, and I’m not popular with some of my [fellow GOP] members who don’t want to see their contributions to health care go away,” Mr. Ross said in an interview Saturday.

Mr. Ross said his plan would show the public “that Congress is willing to accept the ramifications of a bad law.’’ The lawmaker had circulated a letter seeking support to add his amendment to legislation funding the government into the new fiscal year. Only one other Republican signed on: fellow Floridian Rep. Bill Posey.

The issue arises because of a provision in the new health law aimed at lawmakers and staff.

Currently, lawmakers and their aides are covered under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. And just like most large businesses that pay for part of their employees’ health-care costs, the government has traditionally paid part of the insurance premium for lawmakers and congressional staff.

But a provision of the new health requires lawmakers and their aides to sign up for coverage through the new marketplaces aimed at covering millions of Americans who don’t have insurance through a large employer.

Because of their income level, lawmakers and many aides will not qualify for subsidies, increasing the cost of their health care. So, in August, the Obama administration released draft rules saying that the federal government could continue to pay a portion of premiums for lawmakers, staff and family for insurance obtained through the exchanges.

Mr. Ross’s amendment would prevent the government from paying those premium subsidies. He said the goal was to ensure that Congress receives no “special consideration” under the new health-care law.

“Nobody likes my amendment, because it requires us to do what the letter of the law says,
” said Mr. Ross, who estimated his health-care costs would go up by at least $6,000 if his amendment became law. He said that House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) told lawmakers at their closed-door meeting on Saturday that they would address the issue some other time.

From the Washington Wire


A Little Piece of Heaven


I spent time with my kids and my niece at the Lake Mirror Promenade this evening. We enjoyed a stroll around the lake, played in the park a bit and walked through the gardens. The weather was beautiful and the kids were quite tranquil. They had a good evening and so did I.


There are only a few other things that could have made the evening better. Maybe some day soon.