There are rumors circulating that our U.S. representatives and senators are discussing possible exemption for themselves and their staffers from the health exchanges that will be offered to federal employees by the Affordable Care Act. This kerfuffle, fueled by numerous press releases, including an editorial piece in the Aug. 5 Wall Street Journal, suggests that Capitol Hill officeholders believe that what will be good enough for most Americans will not be good enough for them or their entourages.
Whether or not such an exemption occurs, one must remember with bitter irony U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s 2010 remark during the original health-care legislation: “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it.” Well, Ms. Pelosi, what is in the bill, which those who voted for it should have known in advance, may now come back justifiably to haunt them.
What is most disturbing about the current discussions, involving both parties, is the notion that public servants should be a granted a health-care privilege unavailable to private citizens who, in good faith, elected these 535 individuals. If Americans ever had a time to question the character and conviction of those in Congress, that time is certainly now.
As one who has voted for candidates of both parties over the past five decades, I am deeply disturbed by the present disconnect between our elected officials and their constituents. Between now and November 2014, knowing that the other shoe of Obamacare will not drop until after the election is over, we should ask those seeking re-election to embrace willingly the same health insurance issues that many Americans will face.
If they cannot or will not do this, then sentient Americans can do them a big favor: Return these legislators to private life to live it like the rest of us.