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January 13 2014

Report: ObamaCare Causing Morale Problems on Capitol Hill

Charlotte Hays

In the annals of sob stories a recent report that the advent of ObamaCare is triggering morale problems among chiefs of staffs on Capitol Hill may not be as heart-rending to the rest of us as senior staffers think.

Roll Call reported on the plight of senior staffers:

Nearly 4 in 10 chiefs of staff and district directors recently surveyed by the Congressional Management Foundation said they would likely be looking for a job outside the office within the next 12 months.

“The elimination of staff’s traditional health care has been a complete disaster,” said one senior staffer, responding to the survey. “If you wanted a legislative branch run by K Street lobbyists and 25-year-old staffers, Mission Accomplished.”

CMF President and CEO Bradford Fitch said the nonpartisan nonprofit began receiving calls in April from Capitol Hill chiefs of staff who were concerned by the potential impact of the health care law, colloquially known as Obamacare, that mandated members of Congress and many members of their staff could no longer get health insurance through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program beginning in 2014.

Join the real world, senior staffers. Of course, as dismayed as Hill staffers may be by the loss of pre-ObamaCare policies, they won’t quite be in the same boat as the rest of the citizenry. The president worked out a special deal so that they will get subsidies to help them defray those expensive Affordable Care policies.  But it's never enough for this privileged class.

In fact, some may look for jobs elsewhere (lots of luck in this economy!):

Retaining staff and recruiting new talent were among the foremost concerns for chiefs of staff and district directors, with 79 percent predicting that changes to health care benefits could contribute to staffers leaving the office. Of those surveyed, 38 percent said it was likely that they would be looking for work outside the office in the next 12 months, and another 11 percent said they were unsure about the prospect of job-searching elsewhere.

Not stopping to pause at the risible notion of a brain drain on Capitol Hill (who knew the Hill was a modern Athens?), it should be noted that other businesses have concerns about retaining talented staffers and recruiting new people because of ObamaCare. This apparently isn’t that important to people who work on the Hill.

One of the staffers quoted in the Roll Call story really did have a sad story. We are very sorry for the senior-level staffer who has been diagnosed with breast cancer and is losing her health insurance in the middle of radiation treatment for breast cancer. This is tragic. She said:

Getting insured through the D.C. exchange is not helpful — my choices are very limited and costs are high. As a result, I’ve gone on my husband’s plan. My staff don’t necessarily have that option.

Nor do millions of other Americans who will be adversely affected by ObamaCare.

What is so amazing is that nowhere in the story was there a staffer quoted with the sense of irony: congressional staffers want to be exempt from the very law that their bosses, with their help, passed.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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