What took you so long, Mr. President?
Donald Trump may have finally gotten the attention of Congress yesterday when he tweeted out what will happen if they don’t come up with a new health care bill ASAP:
“BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!”
If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017
He also threatened to end “BAILOUTS” for insurance companies, which made the statesmen yawn, but taking aim at their own platinum plans — wow!
There was a great photo of a hand-lettered sign on the Internet this week that perfectly summed up Congress’ hypocrisy on the ongoing collapse of American health care:
“If Obamacare is so ‘great,’ why does Congress require a ‘loophole?’ ”
You see, Congress and its six-figure staffers aren’t partaking in the glories of the unaffordable Affordable Care Act. They were included in the initial legislation, when everyone was paying attention.
But in 2013, during the dog days of summer, something called the Office of Personnel Management invented a breathtaking exemption: Congress, it decreed, is a “small business.”
So the solons and their top staffers suddenly became eligible for subsidies on their plans of up to 70 percent — $12,000 a year.
As a Wall Street Journal guest columnist wrote last week, OPM did the heavy lifting administratively, “sparing Congress the embarrassment of a self-serving vote.”
She added: “All that would be illegal for anyone else. In fact, it is illegal for Congress.”
OPM — perfect acronym. OPM bailed out Congress with OPM — Other People’s Money.
How disgraceful has this whole process been, even by Congressional standards? Chuck Schumer and Liz Warren taking selfies on the Senate floor early Friday morning in glee after McCain flip-flopped. And how about all the GOP turncoats, who ran one campaign after another on the promise of repealing this disaster, and then flinched in the clinch.
A pox on both their houses.
As Mark Steyn noted Friday, “The Democrats have long had John Kerry, who was for it before he was against it, and now the Republicans have John McCain, who was against it before he was for it.”
That Friday-morning vote confirms yet again Mark Twain’s wisdom: “There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.”
But as Dr. Johnson once noted, being hanged in a fortnight concentrates the mind wonderfully. As does the prospect of basically losing one’s health insurance.
It’s such a no-brainer. Conservative groups have been urging Trump to end Congress’ sweetheart deal for months. Polls have shown that 94 percent of the American public would support such a move.
If our 535 lawmakers want to carve out an exemption to Obamacare for themselves, why don’t we have another roll call vote on that? If they don’t have the guts for that, which they don’t, well — once they lose their plans they’ll have some skin in the game, won’t they?
Last week, the White House tried to get the attention of Congress by bringing up people who have lost out under this disaster — working people. The problem with Obamacare is, it only works if you don’t. Which means the Americans most harmed by this disaster are by and large … deplorables, irredeemables, bitter clingers.
Bad enough that their premiums are through the roof. Having “insurance” is meaningless if you can’t afford the deductibles, or the co-pays. Congress knows this — that’s why they have adamantly, if sneakily, refused to partake of their own catastrophe.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, fancies himself a legislative wizard of the first order. This legend in his own mind even wrote a book about his prowess: “The Long Game.”
Well, this sad game has gone on far too long. Time to call their bluff.
Mr. President, I’ve written your first tweet of the morning for you, a follow-up to yesterday’s:
Memo to Congress: If Obamacare is good enough for your constituents, it’s good enough for you! Subsidies end tomorrow! See U in court! SAD!
There it is, in 139 characters.
Order Howie’s new book “Kennedy Babylon” at howiecarrshow.com.
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