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Rep. Jeff Duncan knocks Sen. Harry Reid for handing staff Obamacare exemptions

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Rep. Jeff Duncan is leveling sharp criticism at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, saying the Nevada Democrat’s decision to exempt some of his staff from purchasing health coverage through Obamacare’s new insurance exchanges is a symbol of “everything that is wrong with Washington.”

“Harry Reid rammed a partisan healthcare bill through the Senate that most Americans didn’t want, and now it seems that members of his own staff don’t want ObamaCare either,” Mr. Duncan, South Carolina Republican, said.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Health Care Reform

CNN reported this week that out of the four Senate and House leaders, Mr. Reid was the only one who plans to let some of his committee and leadership staffers keep their federal insurance plans — an exemption allowed under the law.

Mr. Reid and the rest of his personal staff will purchase insurance through the exchanges.

The reports added to the frustration and anger of Republicans, who say the move is more proof that the Affordable Care Act is a bad deal for the nation.

Mr. Duncan said Thursday that Obamacare is a drag on the nation’s economy and is damaging the quality of health care.

“Despite my fierce opposition to the bill, I signed up for insurance through the exchanges and instructed my staff do the same,” he said. “I signed up through the exchange because no elected official or staff member should be above the law.”

“Members of Congress and their staffs should be the first to feel the negative consequences of poorly written legislation, not the last. When I signed up, I saw my deductibles and monthly premiums increase. I suspect that’s the reason why Mr. Reid decided that certain members of his staff should be exempt,” he said.”

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