For you but not for me 108

The Democrats in Congress, who finagled the passing of Obama’s socialist health care legislation – the Affordable Care Act, laughably so called – don’t want the horrid thing to affect themselves adversely. So they are moving to exempt themselves from certain of its provisions.

And the Republicans – who at least opposed its ever becoming law – also fear it applying to them, so they’re helping the Democrats achieve the exemption for all Representatives and Senators and their aides.

They all fear being hit by the exorbitant costs of Obamacare.

This is from 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.”

Yet if Capitol Hill leaders move forward with the plan, they risk being dubbed hypocrites by their political rivals and the American public. By removing themselves from a key Obamacare component, lawmakers and aides would be held to a different standard than the people who put them in office.

The poor dears shouldn’t fear being called hypocritical. Everyone’s always known they’re that and worse.

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. …

As Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) pointed out, if the federal government doesn’t pick up “the 75 percent that they have been, then put yourself in the position of a lot of entry-level staff people who make $25,000 a year, and all of a sudden, they have a $7,000 a year health care tab? That would be devastating.”

Congressmen’s concern for their aides is sincere. They need those people. 

And even more sincere is their concern for how the Act is about to hit themselves:

Plus, lawmakers — especially those with long careers in public service and smaller bank accounts — are also concerned about the hit to their own wallets.

But how can they answer those accusations of hypocrisy?

Well, how’s this for some smart-ass double-talk by spokesmen for the lawmakers? –

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) is worried about the provision. … “Mr. Hoyer is looking at this policy, like all other policies in the Affordable Care Act, to ensure they’re being implemented in a way that’s workable for everyone, including members and staff,” said Katie Grant, Hoyer’s communications director.

Sleight-of-tongue! Brilliant!

And here’s a beautiful ‘s explanation of why the Republican Speaker of the House will support the shocked Democrats in trying to protect themselves from the result of their own folly:

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.”

Talk about smart! Such brains must not be drained!

Surely a little Schadenfreude on the public’s part is permissible now that the Democrats are rueing what they gloated over achieving by sly and shady means:

The developing narrative is potentially brutal for congressional Democrats and the White House. … The health care law, controversial since it was passed in 2010, has been a target of the right and, increasingly, the left.

Hoist  with their own petard. Harry Reid, who pushed and screwed the legislation through, now worried for himself. Nancy Pelosi concerned for her aides, now that she’s found out what’s in the Act as she so looked forward to doing when she enthusiastically voted for it without having read it … 

Okay, some of us at TAC tried covering our mouths to muffle our laughter, but finally had to leave the dignified chamber where we work in considerate silence to guffaw freely outside …


(Hat-tip Frank)