The Corner

Buyer’s Remorse

A few weeks after passing “historic” health-care legislation, Democrats in Congress may finally be discovering what other Americans already know in their bones: this law is a horrendous mess. Some members apparently asked the Congressional Research Service (an arm of the Library of Congress that does research for members and staff) to explain to them just what will happen to their own insurance and that of their staffs as a result of the law. As the New York Times reports today, “In its painstaking analysis of the new law, the research service says the impact on Congress itself and the intent of Congress are difficult to ascertain,” but it sure does seem as though members and staff (like so many other Americans) will not be able to keep the insurance they like, and may lose it even before there are any alternatives for them. Pointing to a broad array of complex and contradictory provisions and a variety of “drafting errors,” the CRS concludes: “It is unclear whether members of Congress and Congressional staff who are currently participating in F.E.H.B.P. [the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program] may be able to retain this coverage.”

If you had your own research service to help you figure out what the law will do to your insurance, the answer would likely be just as confusing and discouraging. And what it will do to American health care and American public finances is even more appalling. As more and more voters appear to be concluding these days, the new law was one big drafting error.

Yuval Levin is the director of social, cultural, and constitutional studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the editor of National Affairs.

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