Bill Bennett: 'Hypocrisy' to Exempt Congress From Obamacare

Tuesday, 24 Sep 2013 01:29 PM

By Dan Weil

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The Obama administration's decision to exempt members of Congress and their staffs from participating in Obamacare is fundamentally unfair, says former Education Secretary William Bennett.

"No Republicans voted for Obamacare. Yet it appears that some of them support the exemption President Obama approved on his own — so they would not have to go on record with a vote for or against it," Bennett wrote in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece Tuesday evening, along with Christopher Beach.

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"This is the height of hypocrisy, and worse, a trampling of the Founders' code of equal application of the law," the two wrote, noting that the exemption of lawmakers insulates them "from the noxious portions of the law, and from the implementation struggles, indecision and uncertainty that many other Americans face today."

Bennett and Beach, who produces Bennett's radio show "Morning in America," took issue with attempts by Democrats to punish Louisiana GOP Sen. David Vitter and others for introducing a bill to stop the exemption.

"In response, several Democratic senators have reacted by drafting legislation that would punish anyone who votes for Sen. Vitter's plan by permanently blocking an exemption from them and their staff, even if Mr. Vitter's law doesn't pass," Bennett and Beach wrote. "It doesn't get more vindictive and petty than that."

When Congress passed Obamacare in 2010, some lawmakers must have felt like fools, or worse, when they realized that the bill didn't include hefty premium contributions the government makes to other federal employees, Bennett and Beach wrote.

"Imagine the horror when these elected officials, who make $174,000 a year, realized that not only must they and their staffers be subject to inferior-quality health exchanges like the millions of ordinary Americans, but they might also have to shell out thousands of dollars for increased premiums if they exceed the subsidy income cutoff," they said.

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"Regardless of whether or not they support Obamacare, members of Congress should refuse the special exemption," Bennett and Beach said. "The law they enacted should apply to them."

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