One of the most profoundly unfair provisions of Obamacare is that members of Congress and their staffers were unilaterally and illegally granted a special exemption from the law they themselves passed. Unlike many Americans, many of whom have been forcibly kicked off their current health care plans, the governing class and their staffers as of now could keep their insurance providers(*see update*) and receive an enormous taxpayer subsidy (depending on which plan they choose) to off-set rising health care costs. Sound fair? I didn’t think so. As it happened, many congressional staffers threatened to resign if they were forced to enroll in the Obamacare exchanges and comply with the mandate -- even though many of them helped draft (and ultimately pass) the legislation. This is what prompted the president to act. But not everyone in Congress is comfortable with upholding such a grotesque waiver. Indeed, this has been a sticking point for Senator Ted Cruz and his allies -- and something they will never let the American people forget:
What’s curious to me is that even Red State Democrats voted in lock-step with their party to buck the House of Representative’s duly passed spending bill on several occasions. Not only did they reject a continuing resolution that would end this unjust and unfair Obamacare waiver -- a de facto endorsement of special privileges and protections for members of Congress -- they voted against the provision to delay the law’s controversial mandate requirement to purchase health insurance. As recently as four days ago, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) said it was “reasonable and sensible” to vote in favor of delaying this provision for one additional year. So how did he and his party end up voting? Well, in the end, along with every other Senate Democrat, he and his colleagues rejected House Republicans’ plan to avert a government shutdown. Splendid.
What does it say about a democratic republic that those who govern 'We the People' feel entitled to receive special privileges and exemptions from laws they themselves pass, while at the same time express no qualms whatsoever about forcing ordinary Americans to comply with them? Do Democrats in Congress really know what’s best for us -- and our families -- better than we do? Apparently so. Conservative icon Charles Murray put it rather nicely recently when he said that America was now becoming a nation where those “at the top of society live increasingly apart” from everyday Americans. Is he not correct? Perhaps this is why Ted Cruz volunteered to donate his salary to charity for every single day that the government remains closed. Now, of course, this gesture of solidarity is not unwelcome, but does it change anything? Absolutely not. Partisan Democrats have all but ensured that members of Congress and their aids will ultimately insulate themselves from the pain and costs of Obamacare. For their stubbornness, I sincerely hope that each and every single one of them pays at the voting booth for their intransigence. Throw the bums out. We need leaders in Congress who care more about public service than enriching themselves. Enough is enough.
*Editor's note: The details of the Obamacare exemption are extremely complicated. Please read Michael F. Cannon's piece at NRO for clarification. The author also originally wrote that members of Congress "will" keep their health insurance providers. That's not necessarily true.