Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday tried to shoot down reports that members of Congress want to exempt themselves and staffers from President Obama’s health care law, even though their participation was written into the law.
“There are not now, have never been, nor will there ever be any discussions about exempting members of Congress or congressional staff from Affordable Care Act provisions that apply to any employees of any other public or private employers offering health care,” a Reid spokesman said.
The statement came in response to a Politico story about “high-level, confidential talks” to exempt lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the law. Political fallout from the story has been swift, with politicians condemning mere consideration of an exemption from the contentious law.
Ezra Klein of The Washington Post blogged on Thursday that it’s a bit more nuanced than the vocal objectors would like to think. Republicans who suggested that Congress enroll in the “Obamacare” exchanges were caught off guard by Democrats’ decision to actually embrace the measure, yet large employers such as the federal government are not allowed onto the exchanges until 2017, and it’s unclear how staffers would get assistance to pay their insurance premiums, he wrote.