Speaking on the House floor yesterday, Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA) stood up and said, “Imagine, Mr. Speaker, a world without balloons.”
“How can we make sure that the injustice of their being no helium for comedians to get that high-pitched voice we all hold near and dear to our hearts,” Johnson continued. Sadly, this was not a parody or even a metaphor. Johnson was speaking very seriously about his support for a bill that would continue government sales from the National Helium Reserve.
Congressional Democrats may not be able to imagine a world without balloons, but apparently they have no problem imagining a world without Obamacare – at least for them. Politico’s John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman report :
“Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in high-level, confidential talks about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the insurance exchanges they are mandated to join as part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, sources in both parties said.
The talks – which involve Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Obama administration and other top lawmakers – are extraordinarily sensitive, with both sides acutely aware of the potential for political fallout from giving carve-outs from the hugely controversial law to 535 lawmakers and thousands of their aides.”
Apparently, Democrats’ profound hypocrisy knows no end. In the lead up to its passage majorities of Americans were opposed to the bill. They didn’t like the idea of the government forcing them to buy coverage, they worried about the impact it would have on costs and they fretted that it would place the government between them and their doctor. Nevertheless, these fears were quieted by Democratic lawmakers with nothing more than a pat on the back and a promise that the more you got to know about the law, the more you would like it.
That hasn’t turned out to be true. Now, more than three years after the bill’s passage, it appears more troubling than ever. Insurers are warning that they will be forced to seek double digit rate hikes to cover the more expensive plans Obamacare mandates them to offer. Businesses are concerned that the employer mandate, and other taxes, will drive up the costs of hiring. And even Administration officials responsible for implementing the law are becoming concerned that problems could lead to it being a “third world experience.”
Even Max Baucus, the senator primarily responsible for writing the law has been vocal about his concerns, warning that it could be “a huge train wreck.”
But while Americans are still being forced to live under the uncertainty and problems of Obamacare, Democrats are quietly looking to carve themselves out. The concern apparently is that higher premium costs would erode the earnings of Capitol Hill employees. This would lead to a “brain drain” as aides flocked to the private sector.
This “Obamacare for thee, but not for me” mentality only goes to show what a disaster many members are predicting the law will be. But if Americans are forced to live with it, so too should the Congressional members and staffs who pushed this bill upon us. As Avik Roy writes for Forbes,
“It is vital for these individuals to experience, first-hand, how Obamacare’s costly mandates and regulations will drive up the price of health insurance. Staffers will, in particular, be affected by Obamacare’s “community rating” provision, which jacks up the cost of insurance for young people.”
Democrats made this bed. Now it’s time for them to lay in it.
Rep. Johnson may have spoke of the injustice of their being no helium. But at least justice will be served by forcing the authors of the law to at least live up to its provisions.