Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a staunch supporter of the president's signature healthcare law, has chosen to allow some of his staff to opt out of buying insurance on the new health exchanges. Instead, he's letting them keep their existing federal employee insurance plans.
According to CNN,
while Reid and his personal staff will buy insurance through an exchange in accordance with the Affordable Care Act, he has chosen to invoke a provision in the law that would permit lawmakers to decide if their committee and leadership staffers join Obamacare.
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The move drew a swift, sarcastic response from Republican Sen. Ted Cruz on Twitter:
Reid's decision appears to contradict comments he made to reporters in September during the height of partisan bickering over the new healthcare law.
"Let's stop these really juvenile political games—the one dealing with healthcare 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," Reid said at the time, according to CNN.
Reid is the only top congressional leader from both parties to exempt some staff from Obamacare. House Speaker John Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have all directed their staffs to join the exchange.
Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson downplayed the matter, telling CNN, "We are just following the law," but Republicans are calling the move hypocritical.
"I'm sure that regular Americans who just lost their insurance will feel comforted to know that Senator Reid's staff gets to keep their government plan," a senior GOP Senate aide told CNN.
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