The Corner

Now Congress Wants an Obamacare Waiver?

It just gets worst by the millisecond.

As John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman of Politico revealed on Wednesday:

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.

Political fallout, indeed!

Democrats passed Obamacare with zero Republican votes in either the House of Representatives or the Senate. Americans turned up by the thousands at town-hall meetings and begged Democrats not to shove Obamacare down their esophagi. They called Capitol Hill offices, wrote their representatives, and in every conceivable way possible, begged and pleaded with Democrats not to inflict socialized medicine on the land of the free.

Nonetheless, Democrats passed and Obama signed the 2,801-page Obamacare bill, insisting that — like chemotherapy — it might be painful and ugly, but it would be good for us. So, shut up and take your medicine.

Now we learn that these same Democrats want a union-style waiver for themselves and their staff members. They worry that higher premium costs may chop into their incomes and those of their employees, so much so that staffers may leave in droves and create a Capitol Hill “brain drain.”

This is beyond repugnant and is precisely the sort of thing that fuels widespread disgust with Washington, D.C.

Democrats demanded Obamacare. They got it. And now they can enjoy it, just like everyone else. They built their king-sized hypocrisy bed, and now they can lay in it.

“Private businesses need to figure out how to deal with it and so should Congress,” wrote Grace-Marie Turner, co-author of Why ObamaCare is Wrong for America. “Too bad.  Live with it.”  

There is no real hypocrisy, per se, in seeing Speaker Boehner try to rescue GOP members of Congress and their aides from Obamacare. After all, every Republican House and Senate member who voted on Obamacare gave it a thumbs down. It is not inconsistent for them to try to escape legislation that they energetically opposed.

That said, Republicans are supposed to uphold the rule of law. The first tenet of this belief is that the law treats every citizen equally. Washington should not be Versailles on the Potomac, with one set of rules for King Louis Barack and his courtiers, and another set of rules for the unwashed peasants on the wrong side of the rococo gates.

Rather than help Democrats slip the Obamacare noose that they claim is a lovely necktie, Republicans once again should demand Obamacare’s repeal. Their chief argument now should be that this law is so bad that even the Democrats who wrote it want out of it.

In addition to redoubling their efforts at repeal, which a majority of Americans still want, Republicans should schedule votes in the House and push for them in the Senate. They should introduce legislation to require that all House and Senate members and their staffs live under Obamacare. Force Democrats to vote up or down: Do they love Obamacare enough to be its guinea pigs, like every other American? If so, they will get points for consistency. And with just as much consistency, Republicans should keep advancing repeal. 

And if Democrats vote to exempt themselves from Obamacare, what better argument could there be for scrapping this abomination?

This would be a win-win for the GOP.

For now, the best comment on this matter came from Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina. “I have no problems with Congress being under the same guidelines,” Burr told Politico. “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.”

If you’d like to sign a petition ensuring that all congressmen and their employees get to enjoy Obamacare, sign NR’s petition here asking them to abide by the law.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor, a contributor to National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.


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