Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has been almost as strong an advocate for Obamacare as President Barack Obama himself, and for just as long. But he’s no fan of watching those close to him endure Obamacare policies and premiums, now that the Affordable Care Act’s implementation is a reality.
CNN reported Wednesday that Reid has exempted some of his staffers from buying health coverage through Obamacare exchanges, allowing them instead to keep their Federal employee insurance plans.
That makes Reid the one and only top Congressional leader to break the spirit of the near-universal pledge among Washington lawmakers to hew to the same Obamacare mandates that Congress has forced upon the rest of the Nation. Fellow Democrat Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Republican leaders in both legislative chambers have at least remained in character by requiring their staffs to go on the healthcare exchanges.
But not Reid — despite proclaiming in September that Congress and its staff “are going to be part of the exchanges, that’s what the law says and we’ll be part of that.” Reid himself, along with his personal staff will indeed be on the exchanges. But, according to CNN:
But it’s also true that the law lets lawmakers decide if their committee and leadership staffers hold on to their federal employee insurance plans, an option Reid has exercised.
Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson emphasized, “We are just following the law.”
Back in April, Jentleson had emphatically denied that Reid and some members of Congress were discussing, behind the scenes, ways that Congress and staffers could dodge Obamacare. “There are not now, have never been, nor will there ever be any discussions about exempting members of Congress or congressional staff from Affordable Care Act provisions that apply to any employees of any other public or private employer offering health care,” Jentleson told The Hill.
So much for that. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had the snappy comeback on Twitter, where he linked to the CNN article and questioned why Reid wouldn’t want to inflict Obamacare on select staff members:
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) December 4, 2013