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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