Great news: Obama to give Capitol Hill an ObamaCare waiver

posted at 10:41 am on August 5, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

As Erika wrote last Friday, the White House has decided to rescue Congress from ObamaCare, but the new plan will cost taxpayers plenty — and ignore the statutes of the bill Barack Obama himself demanded.  New details in the Wall Street Journal of the plan to exempt Congress and its staffers from the consequences of its own law show that the rescue will come in the form of substantial subsidies to cover the skyrocketing cost of lower coverage thanks to the ACA.  And, like the waiver for the employer mandate, it also comes at the expense of statutory law:

President Obama told Democrats in a closed-door meeting last week that he would personally moonlight as HR manager and resolve the issue.

And now the White House is suspending the law to create a double standard. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that runs federal benefits will release regulatory details this week, but leaks to the press suggest that Congress will receive extra payments based on the FEHBP defined-contribution formula, which covers about 75% of the cost of the average insurance plan. For 2013, that’s about $4,900 for individuals and $10,000 for families.

How OPM will pull this off is worth watching. Is OPM simply going to cut checks, akin to “cashing out” fringe benefits and increasing wages? Or will OPM cover 75% of the cost of the ObamaCare plan the worker chooses—which could well be costlier than what the feds now contribute via current FEHBP plans? In any case the carve-out for Congress creates a two-tier exchange system, one for the great unwashed and another for the politically connected.

This latest White House night at the improv is also illegal. OPM has no authority to pay for insurance plans that lack FEHBP contracts, nor does the Affordable Care Act permit either exchange contributions or a unilateral bump in congressional pay in return for less overall compensation. Those things require appropriations bills passed by Congress and signed by the President.

Obviously, this isn’t the first time that Obama has solved the Gordian knot it created on Capitol Hill by simply ignoring the law he championed.  The addition of the Congressional mandate was to ensure that the two-tiered system did not get created by politicians unwilling to absorb the consequences they impose on everyone else.  Like it or not, that’s how the ACA became law.  This is nothing more than a political ploy to protect the governing class from the laws it creates, an unconscionable move in any case, and certainly from the administration that both pushed this unpopular law onto the American people and which promised to clean up the way Washington worked.

If Congress was so adamant about getting a waiver, why didn’t they pass the laws necessary to create it? Republicans wanted to use that as a lever for a full repeal, which means that the waiver never would have made it past the House.  Democrats were too embarrassed to publicly appeal for the rescue, for obvious reasons, which is why they went to the White House rather than pass a waiver or exemption in the US Senate, which they control.  Instead of changing the statutes by which the rest of us have to live, Democrats on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue have simply decided not to apply it to themselves.

That may be a lot of things, but democratic it ain’t.

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Ed’s WSJ link goes back to a Hot Air post in April.

This is today’s WSJ link to “Congress’s ObamaCare Exemption”:

Print version:

Right after what Ed pulled out:

But the White House rejected a legislative fix because Republicans might insist on other changes, and Mr. Obama feared that Democrats would go along because they’re looking out for number one. So the White House is once again rewriting the law unilaterally, much as it did by suspending ObamaCare’s employer mandate for a year. For this White House, the law it wrote is a mere suggestion.

The lesson for Americans is that Democrats who passed ObamaCare didn’t even understand what they were doing to themselves, much less to everyone else. But you can bet Democrats will never extend to ordinary Americans the same fixes that they are now claiming for themselves. The real class divide in President Obama’s America is between the political class and everyone else.

INC on August 5, 2013 at 3:25 PM

I was surprised that up to 100 comments, I didn’t see anyone else mention that the WSJ link was old.

INC on August 5, 2013 at 3:27 PM

At what point does this become an equal protection of the law issue?

Flange on August 5, 2013 at 10:45 AM

For the Left, equal protection only comes into play if race, sex, religion, national origin, or sexual identification is involved.

The smallest minority, the individual, is not worth protecting. He must be absorbed by the Big Government Borg.

You just insulted the Borg! Hope the Enterprise is around somewhere.

polarglen on August 5, 2013 at 3:35 PM

But, but, but… equal protection for gay marriage! Marriage for all! Be fair! 14th ammendment!

Ooooh, look a squirrel! Everyone whinge about gay marriage/terror threat/royal baby/kardashian/a-rod etc..

oryguncon on August 5, 2013 at 4:17 PM

If the HOR passes Rep. Graves CR legislation (funding all Govt EXCEPT Obamacare), putting it on the Phoney’s desk Sep 29th, then WE The People WIN

if the Phoney doesn’t sign it ~> WE WIN

Obamacare does not get funded.

If the Phoney does sign it ~> WE WIN

Obamacare does not get funded.

Therefore, on the August Recess Townhall Battlefield, WE The People fight like HE!! in huge numbers, putting unrelenting pressure on the HOR, GOP members especially. (Hit them with NOAmnesty at the same time)

Boehner and the RINOs then have a choice:

Put that Rep Graves CR on the Phoney’s desk and DON’T BLINK


DEFY the Conservative Electorate, thereby instigating the Restoration of the Conservative GOP Platform EARLIER and more effectively than otherwise would be achieved, through an internal 2014 Coup.

Choose you this day whom you will follow Conservatives … as for me and my house, we will




#CruzMissile ——–>>>>>>>> {{{{{ KABOOM !!! }}}}}

#BeClingers ——————–> #AmericaRISING

exodus2011 on August 5, 2013 at 4:26 PM

I’ve been trying for months to come up with an apt description of Liberals and think I’ve finally hit on one; they’re like rapists.

No matter how much or how loudly you protest, they will force themselves on you.

Charlemagne on August 5, 2013 at 11:06 AM

You’re far too kind.

nico on August 5, 2013 at 7:48 PM

I’ve been trying for months to come up with an apt description of Liberals and think I’ve finally hit on one; they’re like rapists.

No matter how much or how loudly you protest, they will force themselves on you.

You mean like a serial rapist.

banzaibob on August 5, 2013 at 8:17 PM

…so when does Justice Roberts get granted a waiver?

KOOLAID2 on August 5, 2013 at 9:27 PM

I’ve been trying for months to come up with an apt description of Liberals and think I’ve finally hit on one; they’re like rapists.

No matter how much or how loudly you protest, they will force themselves on you.

You mean like a serial rapist.

banzaibob on August 5, 2013 at 8:17 PM

Or locusts.

nico on August 5, 2013 at 11:14 PM

And here they are now:

Congress coming home for summer recess

nico on August 5, 2013 at 11:24 PM

How can we have equal protection under the law when the law applies to some but not to others?


The Rock on August 6, 2013 at 1:34 AM

In the end, some animals are always more equal than others.

Theophile on August 6, 2013 at 2:06 AM

We “regular” taxpayers demand a big pushback for this illegal action. Full repeal is the only answer. We, in this country, are supposed to all be treated equally. Bet Obama does not get away with this one.

Amazingoly on August 6, 2013 at 9:06 AM

I think it’s time to pit the liberals greed against each other. Someone should do the math on this and see if the money used to fund this new benefit for congress, could instead be used to bailout Detroit! The nerve of politicians wanting to use money for themselves when it could be used to bail out Detroit…I am outraged or something…

Alinsky on August 6, 2013 at 9:20 AM

It is truly nice to be a King, and reward your friends.

Another Drew on August 6, 2013 at 11:54 AM

I gave Obama credit when it was revealed that he put in Obamacare the provision requiring Congress/the Senate to participate in Obamacare. It is high time our politicians were reminded they are part of us, not separated and over us.

As predictable as breathing or the sun coming up daily, Obama is now attempting to BUY OFF the very politicians who can DEFUND his ‘Obamination’ once and for all. The question is, with a reported 60+% of all Americans demanding Obamacare be defunded, will Republicans step up to the plate or step up to Obama’s trough?!

easyt65 on August 7, 2013 at 7:11 AM