Turns out that fantastically long, mind-bogglingly complex bills which no one has actually read may create unintended consequences. Remember how they forgot to require insurers to cover kids with preexisting conditions? Oh, and they forgot initially to let young adults be covered by their parents' insurance until Reid fixed it in reconciliation. Now this. Who knew that when Pelosi said they'd have to pass the bill so that people could find out what's in it, "people" meant Congress?
I'd call it comedy gold if not for the obvious point raised by the Times: "If they did not know exactly what they were doing to themselves, did lawmakers who wrote and passed the bill fully grasp the details of how it would influence the lives of other Americans?"In other words, theoretically the law kicks them out of the federal health plan now in order to force them to join insurance exchanges … that don't exist yet. Looking forward to tomorrow, when we're inevitably told that they meant to do that.
The law apparently bars members of Congress from the federal employees health program, on the assumption that lawmakers should join many of their constituents in getting coverage through new state-based markets known as insurance exchanges.
But the research service found that this provision was written in an imprecise, confusing way, so it is not clear when it takes effect.
The new exchanges do not have to be in operation until 2014. But because of a possible "drafting error," the report says, Congress did not specify an effective date for the section excluding lawmakers from the existing program.
Under well-established canons of statutory interpretation, the report said, "a law takes effect on the date of its enactment" unless Congress clearly specifies otherwise. And Congress did not specify any other effective date for this part of the health care law. The law was enacted when President Obama signed it three weeks ago.
You can bet your bottom dollar that they'll fix this little oversight pronto. After all, Congress knows full well what they've forced onto the American people, and there is absolutely no way in hell they are going to subject themselves to the same. Still, I think it's comedy gold to see this when, if Congress had simply heeded the American people in the first place, this would never have happened.
The irony is pretty ironic, don't you think?
There's my two cents.