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“The SHOP is working very well and has been since we launched on October 1,” D.C. Health Link spokesman Richard Sorian said.

Mr. Grassley, who authored the original provision, said Thursday he approached the Secretary of the Senate for an interpretation of the final law and, as a result, placed his personal staff into the exchanges. His committee staff will remain in the federal benefits program.

Still, he doesn’t like what’s become of his idea.

“It obviously was rewritten in the black hole of [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid’s office in a way that wasn’t intended by me and, most importantly, exempting 20 percent of Capitol Hill employees,” Mr. Grassley said. “But the law is the law.”