Our View: Congress flees Obamacare

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 1:07 PM

Editorial Board

On Friday, Politico reported that Congress had reached a deal with the Obama administration, to avoid compliance with a key portion of the new health care law. (To read the story go to http://www.politico.com/story/2013/08/capitol-hill-obamacare-crisis-solved-95100.html) The administration, through its Office of Personnel Management, is expected to finalize an exemption to Obamacare where the government will continue to make contributions to health care insurance premiums of U.S. representatives and senators, as well as their staff.

This will save many who serve us in Washington D.C. — including all federal legislators — thousands of dollars a year in premiums. It’s an exemption, a perk, that ordinary citizens — meaning the rest of us — don’t get to employ. We’re left with Obamacare, and its financial obligations. Congress should not exempt itself.

We’re going to make this very clear — we oppose Congress exempting itself to the complete financial responsibilities of Obamacare. And, if congressional members and staff are going to do this, it should be done by a majority vote in both houses of Congress, and a signature from President Barack Obama. Our national legislators need to go on the record in exempting themselves from part of the new health care law.

After all, a key reason Obamacare originally passed Congress is because Sen, Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, inserted language into the law that Congress members, and staff, must abide by Obamacare. And now, months before it’s supposed to go into effect, presto, they change their minds ... with help from the White House.

According to Politico, President Barack Obama “told Democratic senators that he was personally involved in finding a solution” to this abiding-by Obamacare dilemma.

Supporters of the exemption claim that to not have it would lead to a “brain drain” from the U.S. Congress. ... Excuse us while we chuckle over that remark. ... We’ve long become used to such lack of shame from our pols, but this bit of hypocrisy is extreme even for the U.S. Congress. This exemption must not be allowed to take place. Outrage must grow until Congress is forced to keep its word, and live — like the rest of us — under Obamacare.

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