Washington (CNN) – Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, one of Obamacare’s architects and staunchest supporters, is also the only top congressional leader to exempt some of his staff from having to buy insurance through the law’s new exchanges.
Reid is the exception among the other top congressional leaders. GOP House Speaker John Boehner, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell have all directed their staffs to join the exchange, their aides said.
In the charged atmosphere surrounding Obamacare, Reid’s decision only gives Republicans more ammo to attack Democrats already suffering politically from the law’s botched rollout.
In September, Reid told reporters, “Let’s stop these really juvenile political games — the one dealing with health care for senators and House members and our staff. We are going to be part of exchanges, that’s what the law says and we’ll be part of that.”
That’s true. Reid and his personal staff will buy insurance through the exchange.
But it’s also true that the law lets lawmakers decide if their committee and leadership staffers hold on to their federal employee insurance plans, an option Reid has exercised.
Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson emphasized, “We are just following the law.”
A law crafted by Congress to force people to lose health insurance policies they liked while giving our elected House and Senate members and their staffs options and perks that Average Janes and Joes don’t have.
Geoffrey Norman at Weekly Standard writes in response:
The news will not be followed by widespread astonishment or outrage. And why should it? The history of Obamacare is one of exemptions, carve-outs, waivers, delays … The thing is being jury rigged on the fly and the whole point is not to achieve the ideal but to get something up and running (more or less) that, once done can never be undone.
It’s THEIR world and you and I just happen to live in it. Isn’t it great?!