Way Past Time to Let Congress Enjoy Obamacare

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Every presidential administration reaches a pivot point. Many observers thought Trump’s came when Anthony Scaramucci walked in the White House door. Others thought it came 10 days later when Scaramucci walked out the door.

For me the Scaramucci Saga was just part of the excitement when the circus comes to town.

The pivot point I’m looking for is when President Trump finally learns he has only enemies and bystanders among the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill.

Mitch McConnell, Curator of the Senate, is happy to keep polishing Senate rules, while aging whiz kid Speaker Paul Ryan is proud of slightly reducing the velocity of the socialism–bound train that is the House of Representatives.

Ryan and McConnell have no respect for Trump. He doesn’t have their years of political experience or expertise in the arcane working of the legislative process. The fact the voters know this and elected Trump anyway escapes them.

Neither of these hacks is going to expend a dime of political capital to advance the Trump agenda. Their primary goal is protecting the GOP majority in both houses and maintaining their comfortable offices and the perks that come with leadership. They are both corporate incumbents, not conservatives, and their pitiful legislative records prove it.

Both of these swamp creatures expect to be in Washington, building their federal pensions, long after Trump has returned to Trump Tower for good.

There is no legislative outreach that can bridge the gap between the White House and Capitol Hill. Reince Priebus couldn’t do it and new chief of staff Gen. John Kelly won’t either. The only thing the invertebrates that make up the GOP will understand is negative consequences for their failure to support the Trump agenda.

Fortunately, Trump has just the weapon.

After Congress failed to keep their promise to repeal Obamacare, Trump threatened to make it live under the same rules, regulations and premiums the rest of us must endure.

It’s a little–known fact that Congress exempted itself from Obamacare in violation of the law.

During the frenzy to pass it Sen. Chuck Grassley (R–IA) slipped in an amendment that required Congress to buy its insurance on the exchanges just like the rest of us. Once the bill passed and members learned, to their horror, what was in it, they wanted no part of this leftist moral crusade.

So they created an Obamacare Sanctuary where the law didn’t apply to the people who passed it.

In a demonstration of the utter moral corruption that characterizes our political ruling class, Congress persuaded the Office of Personnel Management to issue a ruling that the 16,000 people employed by both houses qualified as a “small business.”

This allowed members and staff to buy their insurance on the DC Small Business Exchange, UNLESS the officeholder used another sleazy loophole. If staff is designated “non–official” it grandfathers them into the federal Employee Health Benefits program where they continue to receive premium subsidies and access to policies with coverage denied to the rest of us.

Regardless of which dodge the members chooses everyone gets a $10,000 to $12,000 subsidy to pay for their health insurance that is not income based. Meaning while you are selling the bass boat to make your premium, a rank–and–file Congressman making $174,000 a year gets a 12K subsidy for his insurance.

These sound bite patriots don’t feel pressure to repeal Obamacare for two reasons. One, base conservative voters aren’t their health insurance constituency; hospitals and insurance companies are and that’s who is calling the shots. And two, since they’re immune to the punishing Obamacare premiums and deductibles, they feel no personal motivation to keep their word.

Trump can end their lies and duplicity with the stroke of a pen. He can cancel the OPM ruling and throw every last swamp creature into the clutches of the DC Obamacare exchange. No more subsidies and no more special treatment.

Even better, these hypocrites can’t do anything about it. Trump controls, in a manner of speaking, the executive branch and if politicians went to court to try and keep their Obamacare exemption it would be a PR disaster on the scale of Anthony Scaramucci.

Trump should ignore the accommodationists and Congressional appeasers in his office.

A principled revocation of Congress’ special privileges would be a home run with the public; prove to the RINOs that Trump plays for keeps and it could force McConnell and Ryan to honor their promise to repeal Obamacare.

Trump could take a lesson from North Korea’s Kim Jong–un. No one likes him either, but the world worries about what he’s going to do next.

Trump doesn’t need love or respect from Congressional RINOs. Fear of consequences will do nicely instead. Trump should end Congress’ Obamacare Sanctuary now!

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Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic, entertaining and funny keynote speaker for corporate, non–profit and governmental organizations. In addition to his speaking and consulting, Shannon is an editorial page columnist for Virginia’s News & Messenger. As consultant to The Israel Project, he has made a number of trips to Israel where he worked closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in their efforts to promote a positive image of Israel. Shannon has also conducted media and message training workshops for MFA and Israeli Defense Forces spokespersons along with representatives of various non–governmental organizations. During the UN Court trial in The Hague, Shannon worked closely with the MFA in its international media outreach. Shannon teaches message development, crisis communication and public relations for The University of Tennessee – Chattanooga Command College, conducts the political advertising and message section of The University of Virginia's Sorenson Institute and he lectures on message development, politics and lobbying for The Police/Fire Labor Institute. He is a regular speaker on political commercials, crisis communication and public relations for Campaigns & Elections magazine. He has also addressed the State Legislative Leaders Foundation, National League of Cities, conducted seminars for Information Management and The University of Arkansas – Little Rock and performed as the keynote speaker for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Shannon’s client list includes SAIC; United National Congress (Trinidad & Tobago); Royal Castle, Ltd.; New Generation Imaging; Dry–Clean Depot; Texas Medical Assn.; American Medical Assn.; American Medical Assn. PAC; Indiana State Police Alliance; Minneapolis Federation of Police; St. Paul Police Federation; Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance; The Peterson Companies; Gleaning for the World; various political candidates and elected officials. The work Shannon has done in the radio and television arena has been recognized for both creativity and effectiveness. He is a multiple first place winner in the American Association of Political Consultants Pollie awards. Shannon won back–to–back first place Silver Microphone awards for radio commercials. He is a three–time winner of the prestigious Gold statue at the Houston International Film Festival. Shannon won first place in the Vision Awards for television. He has also won consecutive Silver Microphone awards for best campaign.

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