The law of the land for all?
Some members of Congress might have been more interested in delaying Obamacare if they and their staffs had to cope with anything like it. But they do not.
At the heart of the disagreement that shut down many federal government agencies was a bitter battle over Obamacare. At first, conservative lawmakers wanted to defund it. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama rejected that.
Then conservatives wanted to delay most of the law’s provisions for a year, in keeping with exemptions Obama already has granted for big business, some labor unions and a few others. No, thundered Reid and Obama.
Then, conservatives in the House of Representatives proposed another change. This one was to eliminate government health insurance for Congress, lawmakers’ staffs, White House appointees and a few thousand other federal employees. They would have been directed to the highly touted insurance exchanges.
Again, the answer was a firm “no.”
But why not, if Obamacare is such a great deal for the 300 million or so other Americans who will be forced to cope with it in one way or another? Because taxpayer subsidies for insurance covering the about 18,000 federal employees in question are worth up to $11,000 a year. That is what it is estimated some of them would have to pay out of their own pockets to obtain Obamacare insurance equivalent to what they have now.
They would have been required to do that under a provision inserted into the Obamacare law three years ago by conservatives. But Obama’s Office of Personnel Management ruled the employees can keep taxpayer insurance subsidies they enjoy now.
Obamacare, in other words, isn’t good enough for a few presidential employees and members of Congress. For most of the rest of us, though, it’s the law of the land.