Congress in quiet talks to free selves, staff from ‘Obamacare’

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High-level, closed-door talks among top politicos from both parties could lead to a deal that exempts lawmakers and their staffers from mandated coverage under President Obama’s health care law, sources told one news outlet.

The talks involve Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker John Boehner, other high-ranking congressional leaders and various Obama administration officials, Politico reported Thursday.

The discussions are described as sensitive, as both sides — particularly Democrats who support the health reform — are wary of the potential backlash from an outraged constituency that sees the move as hypocritical.

“Everyone has to hold hands on this and jump or nothing is going to get done,” said one unnamed source that Politico says is close to the talks.

The exemption could apply to 535 legislators and the thousands of aides who work for them.

A spokesman for Mr. Boehner’s office asked about the talks said, “The speaker’s objective is to spare the entire country from the ravages of the president’s health care law. He is approached daily by American citizens, including members of Congress and staff, who want to be freed from its mandates. If the speaker has the opportunity to save anyone from Obamacare, he will.”

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