- The Washington Times - Monday, May 19, 2014

Just when it looked like no one would stand in the way of President Obama’s pick to lead the Health and Human Services Department, a Louisiana senator said he will oppose her nomination until lawmakers are held to the same standard as regular folks who purchased health coverage on Obamacare’s insurance exchanges.

Sen. David Vitter, a Republican, said he will oppose Sylvia Mathews Burwell’s nomination because he is not satisfied with the implementation of a quirky portion of the Affordable Care Act that requires lawmakers and certain staff to get their health coverage through one of the new health exchanges.

Until now, Mrs. Burwell had enjoyed a pair of relatively painless confirmation hearings that only brought to light bipartisan support for her track record and character — even though she will be the new face of Obamacare.

Mr. Vitter is outraged that denizens of Capitol Hill were able to retain an employer subsidy that defrays up to 75 percent off their premiums and that lawmakers could exempt staff from the provision without divulging who they’ve shielded or why.

“What I find most infuriating about Obamacare is that Congress worked behind closed doors to give themselves special treatment to avoid higher costs and lower quality care,” Vitter said. “I’m going to oppose Ms. Burwell’s nomination until the American people get the same relief from Obamacare as the Washington elite and their corporate allies.”

Mr. Vitter outlined his complaints in a letter to the Louisiana congressional delegation, which had asked him to hold up Mrs. Burwell’s confirmation.

“Members of Congress and their staff would be facing these exact consequences had they not bent the rules last summer to keep their generous employer-based, taxpayer funded subsidy to avoid higher costs and only make available high-quality, gold level health plans to ensure they were able to keep their doctors,” he said in the letter.

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