Friday, August 9, 2013

Congress Exempts Self From Obamacare Exchange?

This just sickens me with disappointment and disgust.  That deal Obama negotiated to exempt Members of Congress and staff from the Obamacare Exchange -- and the big price increase -- was a bipartisan deal.

How could Republicans have been so politically tone-deaf?  So elitist? So detached from the fact that their constituents will soon be suffering under Obamacare, while their elected leaders cut themselves a deal to be exempt?

Sen. David Vitter gets it, but he seems to be the only one.  Writing for the D.C. Examiner,

After intense and, sadly, bipartisan lobbying and scheming in Washington, the Obama administration announced that it is creating out of thin air a special rule to ease the pain of Obamacare -- for Washington only.

You see, a specific provision of the Obamacare law says that all Members of Congress and their staffs have to procure their health care coverage on the Obamacare Exchange, just like tens of millions of Americans. This was causing mounting fear and loathing in Washington because it threatened real disruption and significantly increased expenses. No problem, the new administration rule fixes that and ensures that a huge, special taxpayer-funded subsidy will follow the ruling class to the Obamacare Exchange to take any sting out.

Even worse, as Vitter points out, is that Congress and its staff will get a taxpayer-funded subsidy of $5,000 for individuals or $10,000 for families.  It['s not just that Congress won't be able to "feel our pain;" we are paying for them to enjoy that privilege. 
It's like we are living in the Hunger Games: life is better in the Capitol.  Or as Vitter put it, 
this is exactly what America hates most about Washington. Washington constantly treats itself better, exempts itself from the laws it imposes on middle-class Americans, and thus sets itself up as a privileged ruling class.
It is one thing for Republicans to disagree about whether the symbolism of a vote to defund Obamacare is worth the political fallout of shutting down the government.  The reality is that until Republicans control the Senate and have a veto proof majority in the House, we cannot repeal Obamacare.  There is a broad consensus among Republicans that Obamacare must go; the disagreement is about the tactics to  to accomplish that goal.

It is quite another, however, for Republicans to join Democrats in insulating themselves from the pain that this foolish law will inflict on the rest of us.  Worse yet, this deal was not subject to a vote. Not only is there the lack of accountability due to the lack of a vote, it feels undemocratic -- particularly since the Affordable Care Act specifically provided that Members of Congress would be subject to it.  The deal, in essence, repeals a little tiny portion of Obamacare, but does so without a vote.

Congress should be subject to the laws it passes. Even the really stupid laws, like Obamacare.  It's that simple.  

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