Obamacare: We Are All Equal, But Congress More Equal Than Others

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Life under Communist/Socialist regimes proceeds along a simple but ruthless calculus of power: the political class does not live under the same laws as the rest of the people.

Food shortages and famines are endemic under Socialism/Communism. But the ruling classes never stand on bread lines. Their children never starve to death. The Socialist/Communist elites gorge on delicacies that are common menu in free market societies.

The same for medical care. Socialist/Communist societies boast fair and compassionate national health care systems. But when Communist/Socialist leaders get a hangnail they run to their private doctor. And when they get cancer they jet to the United States for world class treatment. Because they know that national health care at home means endless waiting periods for the most basic treatment.

National health care means bad teeth (see Great Britain) and  early death.

Obamacare is built on the immoral, institutionalized Communist/Socialist model.

The American people are gradually being herded into a byzantine bureaucracy that will separate them from their current insurance, and their physician; Obamacare will create a desperate shortage of doctors and hospital beds, and stifle the medical research and development that makes the American health care system the envy of the world. It will also drive up costs for insurance, via ever higher taxes, and medical care, to unimaginable levels.

Seraphic Secret is close friends with three dedicated and superb physicians who are seriously looking at early retirement rather than get crushed under the corrupt wheels of Obamacare.

President Obama—under cover of night—has exempted Congress and their staffers from Obamacare. As Obama and his family are exempted from this infamous law.

There is no greater indictment of Obamacare than this thuggish exemption. If Congress and their staffers cannot live by the laws they wrote and passed, then the law is obviously rotten to the core. Any Congressman and congressional staffer who squirms out of Obamacare should be exposed to public scorn, and then compelled to resign in disgrace.

When, in the history of the world, has more bureaucracy meant a better, more humane system?

When, in the history of the world, has more bureaucracy meant a better, more humane system?

Prostitution. Bribery. Blackmail. Thuggery. Hypocrisy.

Those were just some of the incendiary words thrown around the U.S. Senate last week, and that doesn’t count what people said in private.

The Senate may still have a reputation as a genteel club, but lawmakers seemed to abandon rules of decorum completely last week in arguments about whether Congress should be treated like the rest of the country when it comes to Obamacare.

Senator David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, has demanded a floor vote on his bill to end an exemption that members of Congress and their staffs are slated to get that will make them the only participants in the new Obamacare exchanges to receive generous subsidies from their employer to pay for their health insurance. Angry Senate Democrats have drafted legislation that dredges up a 2007 prostitution scandal involving Vitter. The confrontation is a perfect illustration of just how wide the gulf in attitudes is between the Beltway and the rest of the country — and how viciously Capitol Hill denizens will fight for their privileges.

In 1995, the newly elected Republican Congress passed a Congressional Accountability Act to fulfill a promise made the previous year in the Contract with America. For the first time, the Act applied to Congress the same civil-rights employment and labor laws that lawmakers had required everyday citizens to abide by. With some lapses, it’s worked well to defuse public outrage about “one law for thee, one law for me” congressional behavior.

In 2009, Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) decided that the principle deserved to be embedded in Obamacare, and he was able to insert a provision requiring all members of Congress and their staffs to get insurance through the Obamacare health exchanges. “The more that Congress experiences the laws it passes, the better,” said Grassley. Although his amendment was watered down before final passage to exclude committee staff, it still applies to members of Congress and their personal staffs. Most employment lawyers interpreted that to mean that the taxpayer-funded federal health-insurance subsidies dispensed to those on Congress’s payroll — which now range from $5,000 to $11,000 a year — would have to end.

Democratic and Republican staffers alike were furious, warning that Congress faced a “brain drain” if the provision stuck. Under behind-the-scenes pressure from members of Congress in both parties, President Obama used the quiet of the August recess to personally order the Office of Personnel Management, which supervises federal employment issues, to interpret the law so as to retain the generous congressional benefits.

OPM had previously balked at issuing such a ruling. Even without OPM, Congress could have voted to restore the subsidies or ordered a salary raise to compensate for the loss of benefits, but that would have been a messy, public process, which everyone wanted to avoid.

Senator Vitter says the OPM ruling has removed “the sting of Obamacare” from Congress. “Many Americans will see their health coverage dropped by employers, and they will be forced into the exchanges,” he told me last week. “If Congress is forced into them on the same terms, it will be more likely to fix Obamacare’s problems for others.” The bill he and his co-author, Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming, have drafted would make everyone working on Capitol Hill buy insurance through the exchanges — with no subsidies. White House officials and political appointees in the executive branch would also be required to obtain health insurance through the exchanges.

The Congressional Leadership Empire decided to strike back at Vitter. Politico reported that several Democratic senators have asked staff to draft legislation that would deny federal health subsidies to anyone who votes for the Vitter plan, even if Vitter’s plan doesn’t become law. An even more spiteful draft bill would bar subsidies to any lawmaker or aide found by a congressional ethics committee to have “engaged in the solicitation of prostitution.” In 2007, Vitter’s phone number was found in the records of the “D.C. Madam,” the owner of a high-end prostitution ring. Back then, Vitter held a news conference with his wife standing next to him and apologized for a “serious sin” that he refused to discuss further. He was reelected with 57 percent of the vote in 2010.

Vitter isn’t taking the attempts to strong-arm him quietly. “Harry Reid is acting like an old-time Vegas mafia thug, and a desperate one at that,” he said in a statement to Politico. He also wrote a letter to the Senate Ethics Committee demanding an investigation of Reid and Democratic senator Barbara Boxer of California. “Threatening to take away their colleagues’ health care coverage subsidy if they do not vote a certain way, at worst constitutes bribery and a quid pro quo arrangement, and at best amounts to improper conduct,” he wrote. Senator Reid’s office responded by calling Vitter’s charges “absurd and baseless.”

What Vitter’s opponents fear most is that this fight will penetrate the public’s consciousness. A new poll taken for Independent Women’s Voice, a conservative group, found that 92 percent of voters think Congress shouldn’t be exempted from the insurance provisions of Obamacare. Most voters blame both parties equally for the exemption, which means Republicans will also be hurt politically if it stands. “This is an issue with almost unprecedented intensity,” IWV president Heather Higgins told me. “Republicans have the choice of leading the Vitter parade for repeal or getting run over by it. To duck it will be viewed by their constituents as political malpractice.”

Source: John Fund at NRO

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7 Comments

  1. Barry
    Posted September 17, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Robert:
     
    Agreed with all you have written but with a single exception. As I live in a communist country, Canada, I can assure you that dental care which is private, is excellent. Canadians have teeth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted September 18, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Barry:

      Canadians do have better teeth. I know quite a few British actors and they have all had to have their teeth fixed. It’s a direct by-product of NHC.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. eyawitz
    Posted September 17, 2013 at 4:21 am | Permalink

    Members of Congress should receive no salaries or benefits of any sort.  They should be legally forbidden to have any personal gain from their office (and prosecuted ruthlessly and imprisoned for violations.)  Such a powerful position should not be a career or a stepping-stone to wealth. 
     
    Only with these changes and a limit of one short term is there any chance of having an accountable legislature of public servants instead of the corruptocracy now in place.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  3. M.R. Smith
    Posted September 17, 2013 at 3:19 am | Permalink

    This is off-topic, but I wish all the religious Jews on this website a happy, healthy, kosher סוכות.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. Bill Brandt
    Posted September 17, 2013 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    It is with some irony that those politicians who profess egalitarian treatment for the people always exempt themselves; to use a line from George Orwell, claiming themselves as “more equal than the rest”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  5. Brianna
    Posted September 16, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    “Congress faced a “brain drain” if the provision stuck”

    In order to be in danger of a brain drain, Congress would first have to have members that possessed brains.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  6. sennacherib
    Posted September 16, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    “There is no greater indictment of Obamacare than this thuggish exemption. If Congress and their staffers cannot live by the laws they wrote and passed, then the law is obviously rotten to the core. Any Congressman and congressional staffer who squirms out of Obamacare should be exposed to public scorn, and then compelled to resign in disgrace”.
    Absolutely!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

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