Congress: ObamaCare for thee, but not for we; Update: Boehner: Only solution is “full repeal”

posted at 8:01 am on April 25, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Remember in 1994 when we thought that Congress would finally be forced to live by the same laws they passed for the rest of us?  Good times, good times.  Members of both parties on Capitol Hill — you know, the one that hates ObamaCare entirely and the other that swears by its benefits — are working on a plan to exempt themselves and their staffs from the exchanges the rest of America will have to use.  Politico calls this effort “extraordinarily sensitive”:

Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in high-level, confidential talks about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the insurance exchanges they are mandated to join as part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, sources in both parties said.

The talks — which involve Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Obama administration and other top lawmakers — are extraordinarily sensitive, with both sides acutely aware of the potential for political fallout from giving carve-outs from the hugely controversial law to 535 lawmakers and thousands of their aides. Discussions have stretched out for months, sources said.

Actually, I’d call them extraordinarily insensitive.  Congress passed this government mandate claiming it to be a great solution to all the problems of health-care cost increases.  So far that’s turned out to be a bust, and now Congress wants to let itself off the hook for the expense, inconvenience, and constraint the system creates for everyone else.

Politically, of course, this is rather sensitive:

Yet if Capitol Hill leaders move forward with the plan, they risk being dubbed hypocrites by their political rivals and the American public. By removing themselves from a key Obamacare component, lawmakers and aides would be held to a different standard than the people who put them in office.

Democrats, in particular, would take a public hammering as the traditional boosters of Obamacare. Republicans would undoubtedly attempt to shred them over any attempt to escape coverage by it, unless Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) give Democrats cover by backing it.

So why give Democrats cover and back this idea? Oh, you’ll love this:

The problem stems from whether members and aides set to enter the exchanges would have their health insurance premiums subsidized by their employer — in this case, the federal government. If not, aides and lawmakers in both parties fear that staffers — especially low-paid junior aides — could be hit with thousands of dollars in new health care costs, prompting them to seek jobs elsewhere. Older, more senior staffers could also retire or jump to the private sector rather than face a big financial penalty.

Plus, lawmakers — especially those with long careers in public service and smaller bank accounts — are also concerned about the hit to their own wallets.

Great! Now that they’ve experienced the disaster in an up close and personal way, let Capitol Hill denizens multiply that by millions of businesses and hundreds of millions of Americans.  Why should Congress get exempted from the utterly-predictable consequences of the laws it passes while the rest of us pay the price for their arrogance?

If Congress wants to avoid these consequences, they have a legitimate way of doing so — repeal ObamaCare.  If they can’t do that, then let them suffer along with the rest of us.  Anything else is rank hypocrisy and cowardice.

Update: John Boehner responded on Twitter today by disavowing the effort entirely, and making the obvious point:

Time to pass the popcorn?


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Now that they’ve experienced the disaster in an up close and personal way….

they want off the train before it wrecks.

The problem stems from whether members and aides set to enter the exchanges would have their health insurance premiums subsidized by their employer — in this case, the federal government.If not, aides and lawmakers in both parties fear that staffers — especially low-paid junior aides — could be hit with thousands of dollars in new health care costs, prompting them to seek jobs elsewhere

Gee, remember when it was affordable to purchase private health insurance coverage without any help from anyone?

Aides on average, make $60K annually, and some earn up to $170K (as of 2010 figures). And those lowly aides have to endure 16 weeks of recess this year.
Here’s a quote from one of the poor dears.
“there is that beautiful thing called recess: One week a month, when Congress is not in session, you pretty much just come into the office and do nothing. During March recess, I would come in, watch the NCAA game, go to lunch, maybe have a drink or two, then come back only because I had to answer the phone. It was the same for the lawyers-only they got to leave because they had cell phones. The staff director would be gone, playing golf.” And in August, Dawn says, “you get just about the entire month off.”

And let’s not forget the perks that come with the job that augment the overall compensation. Many aides and other staffers receive generous year-end bonuses and the connections that aides make- the reason many of them clamor for these positions- can be invaluable.
And if you think Congressional staffers don’t gain from stock trades based on, ahem…non-public info…think again.

How will these poor aides ever manage? Is that the best line these crooked lawmakers can come up with? My 13 year old nephew can BS better than this.

lynncgb on April 25, 2013 at 10:40 AM

— especially low-paid junior aides — could be hit with thousands of dollars in new health care costs, prompting them to seek jobs elsewhere.

Well…We can’t have that..

ObamaCare..
The biggest Furlough in history..

Electrongod on April 25, 2013 at 8:06 AM

Easy solution there, cut them back to thirty hours.

slickwillie2001 on April 25, 2013 at 10:40 AM

Well as least Boehner is putting a show about repeal, let’s hope he doesn’t turn around and change his mind in a backroom meeting.

Ukiah on April 25, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Can’t do it. Equal protection clause. Roberts made it a tax. All citizens are taxed equally. I’m waiting for the first lawsuit to be filed on this already. I’m sure as soon as Joe Blow has to pay a fine yet his buddy- a union member or an employee of one of the hundreds of companies exempted- does not, it is a lawsuit.

It isn’t even close when it comes to a public official who voted FOR the ACA exempting himself. The question will be if the SP fails to act, will that mean the end of the rule of law in America?

Congress should be nervous, like their seventeenth century predecessors in France were.

Just saying….

archer52 on April 25, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Well as least Boehner is putting a show about repeal, let’s hope he doesn’t turn around and change his mind in a backroom meeting.

One can only hope Barry doesn’t invite him out for a round of golf and offer him a deal he can’t refuse.

hawkeye54 on April 25, 2013 at 10:52 AM

So many things being done at the same time – gun control, amnesty, internet taxation, Congressional exemption from the law.

Seems they had to stuff it all in fast before the next election. The public can be so hurtful

Was not Monica Lewinsky a low level aide? Get some empathy

entagor on April 25, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Was not Monica Lewinsky a low level aide? Get some empathy

entagor on April 25, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Monica did not work on the Hill.

She worked on Bill.

coldwarrior on April 25, 2013 at 10:54 AM

Plus, lawmakers — especially those with long careers in public service and smaller bank accounts — are also concerned about the hit to their own wallets.

Get a job!

blammm on April 25, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Guess they’ll have to go part time. Maybe they can get a shift at McDonald’s to make up the difference.

I honestly think this bill is going to be repealed.

PattyJ on April 25, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Gotta love Congress. They are so concerned for our welfare, that they have developed a health care plan that is too good for them. Why else would they try to exempt themselves? And they wonder why their approval rating is so low.

415woman1 on April 25, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Can’t do it. Equal protection clause. Roberts made it a tax. All citizens are taxed equally. I’m waiting for the first lawsuit to be filed on this already. I’m sure as soon as Joe Blow has to pay a fine yet his buddy- a union member or an employee of one of the hundreds of companies exempted- does not, it is a lawsuit.

Don’t be silly, it’s only a tax when convenient.

It isn’t even close when it comes to a public official who voted FOR the ACA exempting himself. The question will be if the SP fails to act, will that mean the end of the rule of law in America?

The end of the rule of law? Sorry, that ship has already sailed. Obama enforcing the DREAM act even though it was never passed is only the latest obvious example.

Congress should be nervous, like their seventeenth century predecessors in France were.

Just saying….

archer52 on April 25, 2013 at 10:51 AM

One may hope. However there are severe differences. The French peasants were destitute and starving; The US peasants are given free food and other free stuff. It is only the productive who will pay. Things will get much worse before they might get better.

Fenris on April 25, 2013 at 11:14 AM

You don’t have to repeal ObamaCare. Just amend it with one little sentence saying any citizen may immediately opt out of ObamaCare with impunity.

Fenris on April 25, 2013 at 11:17 AM

There is concern in some quarters that the provision requiring lawmakers and staffers to join the exchanges, if it isn’t revised, could lead to a “brain drain” on Capitol Hill, as several sources close to the talks put it.

Won’t happen. Getting your “brain drained” is a required condition of employment up there.

BD57 on April 25, 2013 at 11:24 AM

We’re not sneaking any language into bills to solve Dems’ #hcr problem. The solution to this & other ObamaCare nightmares is #fullrepeal.

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) April 25, 2013
The fact that Dem leaders want to opt themselves out of ObamaCare shows Sen Baucus isn’t only one who realizes it’s a #trainwreck.

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) April 25, 2013

Good words. And I’m going to remember them if a single GOPer in either chamber votes for this abomination.

Yes, I realize it’s unfair to Boehner to lump him in with a Senate “Gang”, but life’s tough all over.

Chris of Rights on April 25, 2013 at 11:26 AM

You know, I’m getting pretty Damn tired of politicians
slamming legislation, bills, etc.

BUT NEVER DOING A DAMN THING TO CORRECT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ToddPA on April 25, 2013 at 11:36 AM

Congress should be nervous, like their seventeenth century predecessors in France were.

Just saying….

archer52 on April 25, 2013 at 10:51 AM
One may hope. However there are severe differences. The French peasants were destitute and starving; The US peasants are given free food and other free stuff. It is only the productive who will pay. Things will get much worse before they might get better.

Fenris on April 25, 2013 at 11:14 AM

Hate to quibble, but the 17th century French set up the 18th century for the “disagreements” that poor Marie suffered.

And, productive or not, our “ruling class” looks on all of us as “peasants.”
Hope it doesn’t take 100 years for us peasants to make our point.

questionmark on April 25, 2013 at 11:38 AM

MissTwiLies Run & Hide CYA
(Misleading, Twists and Lies)

Try them in the Court of Public Opinion.

Charges: Malfeasance and Sedition with intend to undermine the United States Democracy of “We The People”

Specification 1: Passed a law with out reading or understanding the consequence of the law in that they passed the Affordable Health Care Act.

Specification 2: Passed a law before it had been written in that the passed the Affordable Health Care Act.

Specification 3: Exempt themselves from the requirements of the Affordable Health Care Act.

Specification 4: Exempt themselves from full investment disclosure allowing them to non disclose insider trading only for members of Congress.

Specification 5: Interference with Congressional investigations in to Fast and Furious.

Specification 6: Interference with Congressional Investigations into Benghazi.

Specification 7: Authorization and use of public funds for Reelections.

Specification 8: Exempt themselves from Sequestering budget requirements.

Specification 9: Use of Party Policy as a substitute for the Good of the Public interest.

Specification 10: Intentional in a planed an forethought manner foster Misleading, Twists and Lies upon “We The People” solely for the purpose of personal gain.

Specification 11: Other yet to be Specified offensive against “We The People”.

WHERE IS JUDGE Andrew P. Napolitano when this country needs him the most.

jpcpt03 on April 25, 2013 at 11:39 AM

questionmark on April 25, 2013 at 11:38 AM

You’re right, I missed the 17th vs. 18th century thing. It could very well take 100 years, or more. Can’t predict the future, but USSR-style Communism is definitely one possible scenario for USA’s future.

Fenris on April 25, 2013 at 11:42 AM

they risk being dubbed hypocrites by their political rivals and the American public.

Too late, they already have proven that they are hypocrites.

sadatoni on April 25, 2013 at 11:50 AM

I’m shocked, SHOCKED that royalty would consider themselves above the mere commoners. Us poor serfs are lucky to bask in their presence. They truly know best and we should be grateful to have their enlightened wisdom.

There’s a reason they never pay for anything. Perks. It’s what’s for dinner.

njrob on April 25, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Time for them to eat their own dogfood. I hope Johnny B has recently grown a pair.

iurockhead on April 25, 2013 at 12:15 PM

WHERE IS JUDGE Andrew P. Napolitano when this country needs him the most.
jpcpt03 on April 25, 2013 at 11:39 AM

Libs/proggies: no can do… how about Judge Janet Napolitano instead?

Marcola on April 25, 2013 at 12:17 PM

You don’t have to repeal ObamaCare. Just amend it with one little sentence saying any citizen may immediately opt out of ObamaCare with impunity.

Fenris on April 25, 2013 at 11:17 AM

That would have amazing results. Half the country would vote themselves Obamacare-Medicaid. The other half would be free. The deadbeats and expensive cases would all go to Obamacare-Medicaid, and private insurance would become affordable.

The serfs would all have dossiers in Washington. The free people would not have their private information available to the federal government. You would still be marked as a dissenter, but they couldn’t have feds on the lookout for a type AB, with a hernia, in need of a battery for their insulin pump, who also owns guns and is flagged for ‘anxiety’ in your national health file, and your national health card would not popup a ‘HOLD and RESTRAIN” at the ER counter

The government would only own half the populace

entagor on April 25, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Why would Congress and their staff need to go into the Obamacare exchanges at all? I thought the exchanges were only for people who didn’t have health insurance provided by their employers. And since members of Congress and their staff work for the Federal government, I thought that the government would provide health insurance for them like it has for many years. Which part of my understanding was incorrect?

J.S.K. on April 25, 2013 at 12:28 PM

Perhaps Mr. Boehner would like to make a statement on the amnesty legislation as well.

Mr. Arrogant on April 25, 2013 at 12:31 PM

This whole pile of legislation needs to be broken. And it needs to be so politically painful to the democrats that they remember this moment for a generation at least. It needs to reverberate in this warped history as a political killing field. Enough such that they make no further attempts for a very long time to come.

Karmashock on April 25, 2013 at 12:32 PM

The Founders would be totally disgusted by this sort of thing and even more so by people tolerating it.

There is no way this is all going to be resolved peacefully.

justltl on April 25, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Yes, I realize it’s unfair to Boehner to lump him in with a Senate “Gang”, but life’s tough all over.

Considering Squishy’s history, it isn’t completely unfair to lump him in with them.

hawkeye54 on April 25, 2013 at 12:45 PM

J.S.K. on April 25, 2013 at 12:28 PM

when they wrote the legislation, they were careful to put themselves (congress and staff) into the exchanges because they were going to be so gosh-darn awesome, and so they could use the line “everyone in the country have access to the same insurance plans as congress”. Now, they are realizing that the exchanges will not have the same insurance plans as congress (keep your plan? Ha!). They do not want to have to use the exchanges anymore since it’s a bad deal and they don’t need the sales pitch anymore. A$$wipes.

alwaysfiredup on April 25, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Predictably, outrage came fast and furious in the wake of Politico’s report. “Why should Congress get exempted from the utterly predictable consequences of the laws it passes while the rest of us pay the price for their arrogance?” says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Senators and House members either need to suck it up and deal with ObamaCare like the rest of us, Morrissey says, or they can repeal the law. “Anything else is rank hypocrisy and cowardice.”

Excellent!

The founders should have assured that NO law gets applied to the people who sustain the fools in DC, or elsewhere…the ones who make the laws.

May all who exempt themselves spontaneously combust, you charlatans of all charlatans.

Schadenfreude on April 25, 2013 at 1:12 PM

This really is “political and moral misjudgment on an epochal scale,” says Marc Ambinder at The Week. But “forget about the hypocrisy angle. That’s easy outrage.” The truly “atrocious” element of this story is the flimsy rationale for carving out an exception for legislators and their aides:

There is concern in some quarters that the provision requiring lawmakers and staffers to join the exchanges, if it isn’t revised, could lead to a “brain drain” on Capitol Hill, as several sources close to the talks put it. [Politico]
Seriously, “the idea that Congressional staff members are special — so special as to warrant an exemption from a law that literally affects everyone else in the country — is delusional,” Ambinder says. Most of the aides negotiating this alleged exemption make at least $100,000 a year, Ambinder says, and if Congress needs to keep talented staffers, they can pay them more — not cut their pay, as Naked Capitalism’s Yves Smith notes the House has done — just like every other large organization has to do to keep talent.

Schadenfreude on April 25, 2013 at 1:13 PM

Bourbon…

France…

1796…

(some assembly required)

Seven Percent Solution on April 25, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Jackie, maybe they read our dialogue last night :)

Schadenfreude on April 25, 2013 at 1:14 PM

God damn them all.

Schadenfreude on April 25, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Schadenfreude on April 25, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Wouldn’t that be marvelous. Schadenfreude? If they could and would read… and care about… what the American citizenry thinks? :)

thatsafactjack on April 25, 2013 at 1:18 PM

God damn them all.

Schadenfreude on April 25, 2013 at 1:16 PM

This is NOT ‘getting boring already’ as Klein asserts. He’s trying desperately to do damage control. Those tweets from Boehner would not have been made had this simply been a ‘technical error’ being addressed, as Klein asserts.

Further, Ed Morrissey wouldn’t have responded in the way he did if this was just some attempt to resolve a ‘glitch’. Obamacare is a harmful and shameful law. IF enacted it won’t simply cost people more money… it will cost many unnecessary pain, suffering, disability, and even death.

Obamacare must be repealed… for the sake of the American people.

thatsafactjack on April 25, 2013 at 1:24 PM

When you couple $2.00 soups in the Capitol cafeterias and Obamacare, I can see where staffers would have a hard time making ends meet.

Undue burden.

BobMbx on April 25, 2013 at 1:24 PM

when they wrote the legislation, they were careful to put themselves (congress and staff) into the exchanges because they were going to be so gosh-darn awesome, and so they could use the line “everyone in the country have access to the same insurance plans as congress”.

alwaysfiredup on April 25, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Thanks, I see that you are correct. I hadn’t heard about that before.

J.S.K. on April 25, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Boehner has it correct, now if his stance lasts out the week, we’ll have to see.

RJL on April 25, 2013 at 1:39 PM

These recent college grads can stay on their parents’ insurance until 26. Problem solved!

byepartisan on April 25, 2013 at 1:45 PM

Why would Congress and their staff need to go into the Obamacare exchanges at all? I thought the exchanges were only for people who didn’t have health insurance provided by their employers. And since members of Congress and their staff work for the Federal government, I thought that the government would provide health insurance for them like it has for many years. Which part of my understanding was incorrect?

J.S.K. on April 25, 2013 at 12:28 PM

alwaysfiredup on April 25, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Okay, someone correct me if I don’t have this right.
I think there is also some confusion about the provision (requiring lawmakers and staffers to join the exchanges) as to whether members and aides set to enter the exchanges would have their health insurance premiums subsidized by their employer — the federal government. So, it sounds like, what’s being proposed here is possibly undoing this provision in the law.
Basically, Obamacare is still proving to be so poorly written, that Congress and the actual staffers who wrote it, may have screwed themselves by accident.
It remains to be seen.

lynncgb on April 25, 2013 at 1:52 PM

So Congress rammed this SOBamaCare down our throats! Now its time to shove it up your collective arse! Eat your own Dog food!

stuartm80127 on April 25, 2013 at 2:23 PM

Bourbon…

France…

1796…

(some assembly required)

Seven Percent Solution on April 25, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Hmmm. I’m thinkin’ you mean Disassembly. In this case.

hawkeye54 on April 25, 2013 at 2:36 PM

These recent college grads can stay on their parents’ insurance until 26. Problem solved!

It’d be even better that they stay on in their parents house until they turn 50 and remain dependents. Then all is good.

hawkeye54 on April 25, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Boehner: Only solution is “full repeal”

So says the Spelunker of the House who passed Continuing Resolution after CR after CR fully funding obamacare…

Gohawgs on April 25, 2013 at 2:50 PM

Until the right figures out how to cause real pain to politicians and how to inform know-nothing voters, it’s just a bunch of hot air.

beatcanvas on April 25, 2013 at 8:36 AM

Any thoughts on how to do that? Sincerely. I think you are right but I can’t figure a way to get it done.

ChrisL on April 25, 2013 at 3:10 PM

ChrisL

Take them to task in the “Court of Public Opinion”.

jpcpt03 on April 25, 2013 at 4:32 PM

So says the Spelunker of the House who passed Continuing Resolution after CR after CR fully funding obamacare…

Gohawgs on April 25, 2013 at 2:50 PM

And most recently hustled a bill through the House to provide more funding to a failing ObamaCare program.

BobMbx on April 25, 2013 at 5:42 PM

I’m going to invest in futures on tar, feathers, and rails.

Another Drew on April 25, 2013 at 6:38 PM

You silly little rabbits under 65. This is the math of obamacare. You work all your life 20-30-40 years contributing in part for your life time health care. Then comes the realities of age 65. You MUST and WILL transfer to Government healthcare. Now at a cost to you for me is $2,400.00 a year plus co-pay. Next year 2014 it is projected to go up to $5,000.00 per year plus co-pay. All for what use to be free because of my 40 years of service. The money I put into the company plan for 40 years? The Company gets to keep it for free. If I object and elect to stay with my former employer’s plan. Yes I can do that it will cost me my entire social security check, not for one month, not for one year BUT for the rest of my entire life. Most likely over $700,000.00. I do not need this government to help me any more just stay away. Everyone out there is facing the same realities. Unless you are a Congressman who exempts themselves from their own laws. Don’t let these unwed offspring get away with this any longer. It is to late for me but not for thee.

jpcpt03 on April 25, 2013 at 8:35 PM

Strong words there Bohner.

Now back em up with deeds and I’ll show you less contempt.

Chaz706 on April 25, 2013 at 8:55 PM

Hmmm. I’m thinkin’ you mean Disassembly. In this case.

hawkeye54 on April 25, 2013 at 2:36 PM

I stand corrected…

… Thanks!

Seven Percent Solution on April 25, 2013 at 10:31 PM

This really is “political and moral misjudgment on an epochal scale,” says Marc Ambinder at The Week. But “forget about the hypocrisy angle. That’s easy outrage.” The truly “atrocious” element of this story is the flimsy rationale for carving out an exception for legislators and their aides:

There is concern in some quarters that the provision requiring lawmakers and staffers to join the exchanges, if it isn’t revised, could lead to a “brain drain” on Capitol Hill, as several sources close to the talks put it. [Politico]

Mr. Ambinder, it depends on which side of the tax aisle you’re on.

If you’re on the average citizen side, reading the “political and moral misjudgement”, hypocrisy is all you see.

And it’s enough

itsspideyman on April 26, 2013 at 1:51 AM

Nice to see them squirm over this. Boehner needs to deliver though.

We don’t need to repeal it, just defer it until we have the spare cash.

virgo on April 26, 2013 at 2:44 AM

My God, why are we not in open revolution against these f*cks yet?

Midas on April 25, 2013 at 9:17 AM

I’ve been asking myself the same question. I am ready for it. Armed and ready.

RandallinHerndon on April 26, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Well as least Boehner is putting a show about repeal, let’s hope he doesn’t turn around and change his mind in a backroom meeting.

One can only hope Barry doesn’t invite him out for a round of golf and offer him a deal he can’t refuse.

hawkeye54 on April 25, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Until Barry and Mooochelle invite him over for movie night. They’ll watch a chick-flick and Boner will end up bawling his eyes out.

RandallinHerndon on April 26, 2013 at 10:31 AM

My God, why are we not in open revolution against these f*cks yet?
Midas on April 25, 2013 at 9:17 AM

I’ve been asking myself the same question. I am ready for it. Armed and ready.
RandallinHerndon on April 26, 2013 at 10:04 AM

You have turned over your children to the mindless, Godless establishment for reeducation of the unwavering acceptance of authority.

jpcpt03 on April 27, 2013 at 12:08 PM

My God, why are we not in open revolution against these f*cks yet?

Midas on April 25, 2013 at 9:17 AM

We’ve seen what happened to poor brown militias resisting with small arms and IED’s. They were steamrolled in open combat. The only reason they survive at all to make mischief is because of unbelievable American weakness to do what must be done.

MelonCollie on April 29, 2013 at 9:17 AM

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