What about the rest of us?

Congress skips out on Obamacare - and its constituents

Some worry that our country is lurching toward socialism or even communism.

But maybe feudalism should be a concern too.

The country’s ruling elite, it appears, have put themselves above the American people once again like so many feudal lords – and in perhaps the most astonishingly arrogant and dismissive way ever: by exempting themselves from the “Affordable Care Act” that most of us will be subjects to.

Um, we meant “subject” to. Slip of the keyboard.

“ObamaCare for thee, little peons, but not for the majestic aristocracy of Congress and their loyal courtiers!” writes columnist John Hayward.

“To adapt H.L. Mencken,” adds The Wall Street Journal, “nobody ever went broke underestimating the cynicism and self-dealing of the American political class. Witness their ad-libbed decision, at the 11th hour and on the basis of no legal authority, to create a special exemption for themselves from the ObamaCare health coverage that everybody else is mandated to buy.”

Indeed, with the spotlight squarely on Congress during its Obamacare debates, lawmakers in 2009 were forced to impose Obamacare on themselves and their staffs while imposing it on the rest of us. But this week, with Americans’ attention turned elsewhere, the Obama administration gave a frantic Congress a waiver from Obamacare.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi was said to be worried about the “collateral damage” that forcing Obamacare on Congress would’ve had. Congressional staff, you see, might have found the law’s consequences so onerous that they might have left Capitol Hill.

Without the waiver, members of Congress and their staff could each face stunning increases in their health-care premiums. The waiver means they will still receive generous federal health care subsidies the rest of us do not.

Question: If they worry that Obamacare will hurt members of Congress that much, what about the rest of us?

A report this past week said health insurance premiums across the country could rise 100 percent to 400 percent because of Obamacare.

The federal law is leading to other apparently unintended consequences, including cuts in workers’ hours and income.

The Chronicle received an email this past week from a college instructor who said his employer was cutting back on adjunct instructors’ hours to avoid massive fines under Obamacare. The change, the instructor told us, will cost him nearly $16,000 a year.

It will also obviously make him less available for teaching, meaning a net loss in education.

In truth, we have only seen the tip of the Obamacare iceberg and all the damage it will work.

Yet, our feudal lords in Washington are holding themselves harmless above it all.

In fact, things may only get better for them: The Wall Street Journal notes that current federal subsidies cover 75 percent of congressional health care premiums; but premiums under the Obamacare exchanges may be higher – so the cost to cover 75 percent of the premiums may be higher than they are now.

“In any case,” the Journal writes, “the carve-out for Congress creates a two-tier exchange system, one for the great unwashed and another for the politically connected.”

How much more are we vassals expected to swallow?

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