The Pryor Times

November 15, 2013

Did your Congressman choose to exempt himself from Obamacare?


PRYOR, OK — Dr. Harold Pease

 

On Nov. 1, each member of Congress in a most quiet process chose whether they and their staffs accepted the Obama exemption to their having to live under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. If lawmakers didn’t act, staffers were exempted by default—automatically. Do you know how your two U.S. Senators and member of the House of Representatives voted?

Most people were not supportive of Obamacare when first formulated.  Today, if a vote were taken, most people would vote against it as well, especially in light of the now established fact that most will have rate increases and higher deductibles.  Although promised otherwise by President Barack Obama, most will not be able to keep their doctors or providers. Big business and unions are opting out of it as fast as they can. In what appears aimed to mute congressional opposition to the forced healthcare law, President Barack Obama has allowed Congress to opt out leaving only the American people enslaved by the legislation that they created. Again, do you know how your two U.S. Senators and House member voted?

At first some members of Congress convincingly denied that they had received an exemption but Senator David Vitter published the Obamacare language next to the Obama exemption. The first read in part: “If the employee purchases a qualified health plan through the Exchange the employee will lose the employer contribution (if any) to any health benefits plan offered by the employer and that all or a portion of such contribution may be excludable from income for Federal income tax purposes” (See Section 1512, number 3). The second, the Obama Congressional exemption, coming through the Office of Personnel Management, page 6, read in part: “The revisions adopted here have no impact on the availability to Member of Congress and Congressional Staff of the contribution established in 5 USC 8906”  (Alex Pappas, “Republican accuses fellow lawmakers of ‘lying’ about Obamacare exemption,” 9/19/2013).

The President, who has no constitutional authority to make law, unilaterally changed the law and voided, otherwise mandatory, congressional participation.  Presumably to grease the skids for members of Congress accepting what in any other setting would be called a bribe. Now they defined their employees as “official” or “not official,” to determine whether or not staff members had to enter the exchanges with the designation of “not official” not having to accept Obamacare.  

The hypocrisy of forcing the people to live under what they themselves will not is beyond description and at the height of political corruption. If the president is going to lead us into socialized medicine then he must accept it for himself. If the Supreme Court is going to rule it constitutional they too must live under it. This should be the litmus test for the reelection of every U.S. Senator and member of the House of Representatives for the next several years to flush out of office those who exempt themselves from the laws that they make for others. All members of Congress made this decision on Nov. 1. Did they choose to live above the law? If so, corruption has never been so clear and stark.  

Most House Republicans have opted to submit themselves and their staffs to the costly provisions of the law although they despise the law and played virtually no role in its inception. But so far, ironically, Senate Democrats, who all voted for it, appeared hypocritically split on the issue. Still, we believe that no exemptions should be made for anyone who works in government. How will they govern correctly if they have immunized themselves from the pain they cause others?

Sen. David Vitter is leading a Senate fight to nullify the exemptions for lawmakers and their staffs. His bill would require all members of Congress and the executive branch to purchase health insurance without taxpayer-funded subsidies— just like everyone else. No exceptions. If this lacks sufficient congressional support we support Sen. Rand Paul’s Constitutional Amendment designed to require our government to live under the same laws that they make for us. They are not our masters but our servants.

 As this automatically goes into effect without a member of Congress doing anything and as many will let that just happens, it is imperative that you carefully phrase your question to them leaving no wiggle room. We suggest, “Are you, or any of your staff, exempted from or receiving any subsidization from Obamacare.”



Dr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events.

He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.