Peter Kinder op-ed: Obamacare giving “special treatment” to Congress, staff

111118_kinder_gavel_ap_465–  “Few issues more clearly illustrate the disconnect between the ruling class in Washington, D.C., and the American public than the latest dustup over Obamacare.

At issue is a simple proposal to make lawmakers and their staffs subject to the same provisions of the law the rest us are.

David Axelrod, a former adviser to President Barack Obama, once called Obamacare the administration’s “proudest accomplishment.” If it were, why are so many lawmakers who supported it scrambling to do everything in their power to prevent its being applied to themselves and the people who work for them?

A bill sponsored by Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana would stop a plan to give members of Congress and their staffs generous taxpayer-funded subsides to pay for their health insurance under Obamacare. In response, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Democrats ordered a bill to punish any lawmaker who voted for Vitter’s bill. They crafted another measure that specifically targets Vitter.

What better proof is there that Obamacare is bad law than the number of groups that now want to be exempted from it? At the front of the line are those who inflicted this monstrosity on the American people. Republicans, who were shut out of the process from beginning to end, now are being demonized for merely trying to ensure Congress is not one the exempted groups.

In fact, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa made sure this accountability was part of Obamacare back in 2009, successfully inserting a provision that required all members of Congress and their staffs get insurance through the Obamacare health exchanges. But as the laws effects became clearer, members of Congress from both parties pressured the president to find a way to circumvent that provision.
So during the August recess, President Obama ordered the Office of Personnel Management to continue providing generous health insurance subsidies, shielding lawmakers and their staff members from increased insurance costs under the exchanges.

Vitter’s bill would shine the light of accountability on Washington’s ruling elite. Remember Nancy Pelosi’s infamous elucidation that “we have to pass the bill to see what’s in it?” Well they didn’t like what they saw, and now are doing everything they can to ensure it doesn’t apply to them.

Does any Missourian – Democrat, Republican or independent – approve of this special treatment for members of Congress and their staffers?

Talk about a disconnect.

We now have millions of American workers whose employers are dropping health coverage, forcing them into the government health exchanges. For many of these citizens, premiums are spiking enormously. Others are being forced to work part-time because employers have slashed full-time positions to avoid costly mandates that are part of Obamacare.

Despite the president’s promises that premiums would drop under the new health care law, the opposite is true for many Americans, and for very predictable reasons.
That’s because the law now requires health insurers to accept everyone, including those with pre-existing conditions. Also, insurers cannot charge more based on serious medical conditions, and they now are mandated to provide coverage for many conditions that previously often were uncovered.

Obviously, someone has to pay the higher costs inherent in these mandates. Young, healthy Americans will have to pay more, sometimes a lot more. And that’s also why those healthy Americans who previously would simply forgo health insurance now are forced to sign up.

In other words, the young and healthy must be overcharged to pay for those who are older and less healthy. In California, for example, once the health law is fully implemented, premiums will at least double for 25-year-old non-smoking men.
The list of negative impacts from this law is long and growing. There is no better way to impress on Congress the ill effects of Obamacare than to make lawmakers suffer its consequences with the rest of us.

Maybe then lawmakers will finally get the message and repeal this increasingly unpopular law before the most damaging effects impose even more hardships on already struggling Americans.”