August 8 2013
We should commend the financial integrity of the Republicans on Capitol Hill who have announced that they will forego the possibly illegal ObamaCare exemption negotiated for Congress by President Obama.
Okay, I made that up. No Republican on the Hill has said any such thing, as far as I know. And I am not holding my breath. The temptation to take this deal must be intense—and President Obama, who realizes that repeal of ObamaCare is more likely if Congress feels the pinch, knows that. He's got their number. He knows their price.
Republicans on the Hill should reject what the Wall Street Journal this morning terms “Illegal dispensations for the ruling class, different rules for the hoi polloi.” The deal the president negotiated is utterly corrupting. Still, who—aside someone with rugged, small “r” republican values—could summon the courage to turn down this windfall?
The details of the deal are explained in the Wall Street Journal editorial, which I urge you to read. It’s complex but it boils down to this: Congress will have to enroll in ObamaCare exchanges but instead of actually being affected by the law, they’ll continue to have the lion’s share of their premiums paid by us.
People who earn less than the cosseted staffers on Capitol Hill will be kicking in to make their lives easier. The Journal editorial explains:
At least the Members will still have to sign up for exchange coverage as the law requires. Given the lawless White House record, it probably considered finding some excuse to exempt Congress entirely and decided that option was too explosive politically. But creating a special financing stream for the political class is almost as much of an abuse.
ObamaCare's complex subsidy system, with varying levels based on income, is not incidental to the exchanges. It's the beating heart of this exercise in wealth redistribution and social and economic central planning. The entitlement's architects never envisioned that well-to-do movers and shakers—Mr. Obama might even call some of them "the rich"—would get (or deserve) taxpayer benefits merely because they happen to run for or work for Congress.
Millionaire Senators and the affluent professionals who are chiefs of staff, legislative directors and the like were supposed to go on the exchange and abide by its rules….
It would have been fairer and less corrosive to the rule of law had Congress simply passed a bill giving their workers a raise to make up for the lost compensation of dropping out of the FEHBP [Federal Employees Health Benefits Program].
This is truly corrupt and it would be a great issue for the GOP to embrace as a way of showing voters how venal our Congress has become.