Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-IA, in his usual scrappy form, has announced that he will introduce an amendment this week, during reconciliation debate, that mandates that the President, Vice President, and the entire Obama Cabinet get their health insurance through the newly-created exchanges.
Grassley, with Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, one of only two physicians in the chamber, succeeded in getting an amendment approved last year to the Senate bill that the House just passed and the President will sign Tuesday at 11:15am, that says all members of Congress must get insurance through the exchanges.
BUT -- in a last minute twist, before the Senate bill became law, Democratic leadership got their staff and committee staff exempted from the requirement. Their reason stated at the time was that these staffers deserve consistency in their coverage, which they get through the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP).
Grassley is not likely to win on this amendment, because Democrats are trying to keep any changes at bay. Any change whatsoever, and the bill must go back to the House for consideration. No Dem wants to risk a Round 2 in that chamber.
"It was hard enough the first time," one senior Senate Democratic leadership aide told Fox.
Grassley said, in a statement released to reporters, “It’s only fair and logical that top administration officials, who fought so hard for passage of this overhaul of America’s health care system, experience it themselves. If it’s as good as promised, they’ll know it first-hand. If there are problems, they’ll be able to really understand them, as they should.”