Congress should abide by its own laws
Published: Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
We shouldn’t even be having this discussion today. Members of Congress who pass the laws of the land should be subject to those same laws the same as anyone else. After all, we do not have a ruling class in this country, in spite of what our elite elected “pubic servants” think. This seems to be an elementary assumption.
The Internal Revenue Service has been charged with administering Obamacare’s required purchase of health coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It will be checking whether millions of Americans are in compliance with the new health care law. Some of those they won’t have to worry about checking are U.S. senators, representatives and top members of their staffs, thanks to a deal they will get from the president himself.
After all, the folks we are talking about, our elected senators and representatives make only $174,000 a year with many additional perks, so how can they possibly afford to participate in these insurance exchanges?
The Wall Street Journal ripped into Congress and the president last week about these insurance exemptions which will save members of Congress and their high-paid staff members thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs. This represents a double standard, according to the WSJ.
The Affordable Care Act required members of Congress and their staffs to participate in its exchanges in order to have first-hand experience with what their constituents are about to experience. After all, Harry Truman enrolled as the first Medicare beneficiary in 1965, “so why shouldn’t the members live under the same laws they pass for the rest of the country,” asks the editorial. Can you imagine Obama and his family volunteering to come under this law? After all, this is his signature legislation.
“That was the idea when Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley proposed the original good-enough-for-thee, good-enough-for-me amendment in 2009 and the Finance Committee unanimously adopted his rule. Harry Reid revised the Grassley amendment when he rammed through his infamous Obamacare bill that no one had read for a vote on Christmas eve. But he neglected to include language about what would happen to the premium contributions that the government makes for its employees,” the editorial said.
So, enter the president who told Democrats in a closed-door meeting last week that he would personally step in as HR manager and resolve the issue. After all, Obama has a habit of taking care of such things outside legal bounds. It now appears that members of Congress will have the Office of Personnel Management cut checks to cover about 75 percent of their insurance plans, which for 2013 amounts to about $4,900 for individuals and $10,000 for families. Or the OPM could simply cover the 75 percent of the cost of the Obamacare plan chosen by the federal employee. The WSJ editorial says both of these plans are illegal because these things require appropriations bills passed by Congress and signed by the president.
“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,” the WSJ says.
We agree. Covering additional insurance costs for members of Congress is akin to giving them a raise they don’t deserve and certainly haven’t earned.
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