Make Congress suffer under Obamacare with the rest of us.

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Pres. Barack Obama signs the health care bill in the East Room of the White House. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 8/4/17

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Whatever you might have been taught about America’s representative form of government, it would do well to recognize that true, faithful representation of your interests is, at best, no better than a secondary consideration in today’s Congress.

Case in point. When Obamacare was being “debated” (read: rammed through Congress by the Democrats), Republicans did successfully force into the bill a provision that required Congress to live with what it passed.

Such has not always been the case.

Congress is rather famous for exempting itself from what they impose upon the rest of us. To one degree or another, Congress is or has been exempt from laws such as the Freedom of Information Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act. Among others.

But they couldn’t escape Obamacare. Had they tried to weasel out of it in the wording of the law, Republicans might have made enough noise to frighten enough  Democrats in Congress to imperil the bill’s passage.

So the Dems did what they had to do and then quickly realized they were in a fix. Under the bill, lawmakers and their staffs were required to get their health coverage from an Obamacare exchange. They would no longer enjoy coverage under the Federal Employee Health Benefit program.

Worse, Congress and their staffs made too much money to qualify for subsidies. They thus realized early on that they would be in exactly the same fix in which millions of Americans would eventually find themselves.

Something had to be done.

To save the bill, President Obama rode to the rescue. He directed the Office of Personnel Management to issue a rule [78 Fed. Reg. 60653-01] to the effect that the 535 individual congressional offices would be considered self-contained “small businesses” of fewer than 50 employees each.

Voilà! Congressmen and their staffs became eligible to buy health insurance from the DC Health Link Small Business Market and, because of their “small business” status, to receive a 72 percent government subsidy. Problem solved.

Just to be clear, the U.S. Congress employs 12,000 people. It is by no stretch a small business. To call it one for selfish political purposes is the very pinnacle of cynicism.

To characterize Congress as a collection of small businesses is analogous to IBM designating each department in each division in each office in each city in which it operates as a “small business.” It’s an obvious sham.

The only reason this assault on our intelligence ever skated by is because it was done as secretly as possible and then ignored by the media.

It’s a classic case of Washington ruling class self-dealing.

If President Trump wants to get Congress off the dime in dealing with Obamacare, he can do it with the stroke of a pen. He should issue an executive order rescinding the OPM rule and make Congress eat its own cooking. Both Republicans and Democrats will love him for it.

Meanwhile, the resulting apoplexy on Capitol Hill will be the entertainment event of the fall.

Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of Gleiser Communications, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The Team FM & KYZS in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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16 Responses

  1. You’re HALF right.

    Yes, members of Congress SHOULD have to shop for insurance, confined to the same choices their constituents back home get. One thing many will discover: Where there are state exchanges, they’ll likely be better off than in states where sorehead governors left the job to Uncle Sam. Ironically, those who usually howl that Washington-controls-what-should-be-left-to-the-states made an exception with Obamacare.

    But more entertaining than Trump gaffes?
    Ha!
    Calling The White House — The PEOPLES’ House — “a real dump?”
    Claiming that the Boy Scouts — who APOLOGIZED for his Jamboree appearance — called to praise him?
    Etc., etc., etc.

    When General Kelly’s entrance began with vile Mooch’s exit, we saw a glimmer of hope for the “discipline” even Trump supporters are begging for. WATCH TWITTER to see if even a USMC general can’t squelch Tweets and other faux pas.

    Today’s leak of transcripts of conversations with the Mexican president and Aussie PM don’t bode well.

    • Paul Gleiser says:

      Hello?! Did you miss the stories about those wonderful state exchanges created by the NON-sorehead governors that are imploding one by one?

      • Being your fan from afar, I have a different perspective than yours.
        My state exchange is among those that work just fine.
        Respectfully: Your state, without one, has the USA’s highest percent of uninsured.

        AND WHERE’S LOUIE on this? He and his cohorts spent 7 years passing inconsequential Obamacare repeals they knew Obama would veto. Now, with control of both houses, and a president who’ll sign ANYTHING that ANYHOW changes the ACA, Republicans came up empty…and Rep. Gohmert is afraid to hold town hall meetings, fearing “for attendees’ safety?”

        • Paul Gleiser says:

          A.) Your state is the size of a postage stamp. We have zip codes in Texas with more residents. The comparison is not even close to valid.
          B.) Texas’s high percentage of residents without health insurance is not an argument for Obamacare. Texas is one problem. Obamacare is another. The article is about Obamacare — a failure by every objective measure, a law that did not deliver on a SINGLE ONE of the core promises made during argument for its passage and a law that is crushing small businesses (mine, for example).
          C.) Louie Gohmert voted in FAVOR of the measure that passed the House. (Senators Cruz and Cornyn voted in FAVOR of the measures that failed in the Senate.)

  2. A) “precent”
    B) What IS the Texas problem.
    C) He IS hiding.

    • Paul Gleiser says:

      Call it “hiding” if you wish, he’s not hiding from his constituents. His constituents are not displeased with him at the moment. If he’s “hiding,” it’s because he is disinclined to announce a town hall only to have some leftist group bus in a rent-a-mob in order to bait TV coverage in an attempt to make it look like some grassroots uprising against “extremist” Republicans — bait that the northeast media would HAPPILY gobble up.

      • About “busing-in” protesters: Now that smartphones have put a camera in everyone’s pocket, has anyone actually photographed such a bus? And transportation companies are easy enough to query. DO these busloads exist?

        • Paul Gleiser says:

          Whenever anyone has bothered to look it has often been the case that the “grassroots” protesters at Republican events are not from the state, city or congressional district in which the “grassroots” protest is taking place. It happens frequently. In my own experience covering the New Hampshire primaries in 2008, 2012 and 2016 I personally encountered “grassroots” protesters at Republican candidate events who came in from outside New Hampshire.

          How did I know they were from out of state? I asked.

          Whether they arrived by bus or train or private car or Volkswagen hippie bus or pack mule or gypsy caravan is really quite irrelevant. They show up. (See this story from New Hampshire in 2016: http://ktbb.com/decision2016/2016/02/08/where-are-the-republican-protesters/)

          • Do you make room for THE POSSIBILITY that locals are irked?

          • Paul Gleiser says:

            The POSSIBILITY that they’re irked? It’s the bloody CERTAINTY. But they’re not irked for the same reasons that the rent-a-mob, professional “protesters” that would show up at a Louie Gohmert town hall are irked.

            They’re irked because the repeatedly and consistently articulated agenda that swept Trump into office and that now has Republicans in control of state houses and governor’s mansions in MOST of the country is not being pursued by the Republicans in Congress.

            This conversation started on the subject of Louie Gohmert. Gohmert stands, at the moment, not guilty of what’s irking his very irked constituents.

  3. Oops. Typo.
    “Percent”

  4. Richard Anderson says:

    Great column Mr. Gleiser.

    Obamacare is a disaster “forced” on Americans by a lie by democrat & former President Obama since day one.

    It is crushing the financial well being and spirit out of our great Constitutional Republic which was Founded in LIBERTY under GOD, not statist socialism as former President Obama & his minions believe. From their actions, they know NOTHING about our Constitution or our Declaration of Independence. In a word it’s about FREEDOM, something which is alien to them.

    Attention Senators and Representatives… Just do it… REPEAL Obamacare COMPLETELY. If you fail to act in this simple request, President Trump should follow through with his warning that he is prepared to NON-exempt Congress & every staff member who is benefiting from a taxpayer funded subsidy which is keeping Obamacare afloat at the expense on the backs of the rest of America.

    Only a free market American free enterprise solution without government interference can bring about affordable health care that ALL Americans can access. Single payer nor Obamacare WILL NEVER accomplish that. NEVER!

  5. The Obama engineered exemption of Congress from Obamacare is a perfect example of the dishonest and corrupt nature of Obama, the Democrats, AND the Republican leadership. President Trump needs to put congress back into Obamacare in short order. It is something he can do. My respect for Democrats–Dumocrats I tell my son–vanished long ago. Sad that Republicans more and more look to be cut from the same cloth. Paul, thanks for another outstanding column that I will be passing along. I read you column every week, Sir.

  6. Linda E Montrose says:

    BOTH parties are to blame here…not one or the other, but BOTH! The republicans voted in HOW MANY newbies who were going to get obamacare repealed. Seems they have failed us for feathering their nests instead. Cruz, Rubio, and a long list of others who were specifically voted in for that very reason have FAILED us…they set their sights on the whitehouse and overlooked one detail…WHAT have they done FOR US…WE the people who voted them in??? Have blown a lot of hot air, but that is all. They are going to have to DO something extraordinary for we, the people to believe anything they say. President Trump is trying to do something but is weighed down by sniping democrats who are still whining about the election. We need to get rid of every senator and representitive in Congress and start over with new people and a new set of rules if we are ever going to make this country great again. TERM LIMITS should be put into place. STOP the career politician from doing nothing for what they are being PAID to do. Stop the perks that encourage lies and deception in order to keep their cushy jobs. Get people in there who really care about the people and the direction this country is going. STOP trying to control us with the likes of obamacare. If it is good enough for the people, it should be good enough for YOU Mr. & Mrs. congresspersons! Get off your collective butts and start doing FOR US…we, the people instead of yourselves!!! Start with this abomination called obamacare!!!

  7. amen how do we change it? call the guy who’s enjoying the benefits?

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