Is anyone truly surprised by this news, outside of a few dead-end Obama voters? There’s no way Congress was going to be part of the “train wreck” it inflicted upon the rest of America, to borrow retiring Democrat senator (and ObamaCare author) Max Baucus’ memorable phrase. The most urgent item on the American agenda is the full repeal of ObamaCare, but the political class is more interested in repealing it for themselves, as reported by Politico:
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.
A source close to the talks says: ???Everyone has to hold hands on this and jump, or nothing is going to get done.???
Let us pause for a moment to savor the image of the power-hungry political hacks who inflicted ObamaCare upon us joining hands and jumping from something very high – say, the balcony of Tom Cruise’s stratospheric condominium in the new movie “Oblivion.”
After some hand-wringing about whether Democrats would look hypocritical by escaping from the ObamaCare nightmare they imposed on the American people (gee, ya think?) the Politico piece explains why they’re freaking out on Capitol Hill:
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.
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.
OK, let’s pause for another hit of schadenfreude. Imagine the typical low-information Obama voter reading this news, brow furrowed in confusion: “Hit to their wallets? What about my wallet? Wait, the President told us his bill was going to make everything cheaper…”
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) thinks his fellow aristocrats are making much ado about nothing, because ObamaCare “mandates that the federal government will still subsidize and provide health plans obtained in the exchange,” so “there will be no additional cost to lawmakers and Hill aides.” Great, more subsidies! Crank up the unicorn-powered printing press in the Treasury basement and pump out another billion dollars! Remember when these crooks were telling you ObamaCare would reduce the deficit?
The only way Democrats can get away with their personalized ObamaCare repeal is if Republicans go along with it, giving them bipartisan cover. Even then, I can’t imagine it would go over terribly well with the public, but frankly by re-electing Barack Obama, the public rendered its opinions in the matter functionally irrelevant. It no longer matters what you think about your health care needs, or the special favors doled out to others. From here on in, you have two choices: demand full ObamaCare repeal, and convince your representatives their political survival depends on it, or do as you’re told.
How is Speaker John Boehner’s office handling these secret ruling-class negotiations?
When asked about the high-level bipartisan talks, Michael Steel, a Boehner spokesman, said: ???The speaker???s objective is to spare the entire country from the ravages of the president???s health care law. He is approached daily by American citizens, including members of Congress and staff, who want to be freed from its mandates. If the speaker has the opportunity to save anyone from Obamacare, he will.???
What the hell does that mean? If the Speaker plans to take an opportunity to “save” the people who created ObamaCare from its ravages, he’s writing his own political obituary. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) has the right attitude: “I think if this is going to be a disaster – which I think it’s going to be – we ought to enjoy it together with our constituents.”
The one and only response any and all Republicans should make to this absolute outrage is: Repeal ObamaCare now. Then they should club Democrats out of House and Senate seats across the land in 2014 for having the nerve to ask for their own customized escape hatch. If they can’t handle that, what need do we have for the Republican Party? What’s the point of donating money to them, when we should be saving up to pay the inflated ObamaCare bills that Congress wants to spare itself from?
Update: Newt Gingrich, via Twitter: “If Congress exempts itself from ObamaCare, it must give every American the right to have the same exemption. Americans should call, email, or Tweet their congressmen and senators – demand ObamaCare exemption must be for the people, not just for politicians.”
Update: Speaker Boehner weighs in via Twitter, and says exactly the right thing:
??? Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) April 25, 2013