From Talking Points Memo we learn that the following Missouri Republicans signed up for Obamacare through the D.C. marketplace without indicating that they would refuse the employer contribution: Billy Long (R-7), and Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-3)
So what you say? We all know that the employer contribution was reinstated for congressmen and their staff in order to restore fairness – after all, 80% of Americans get their insurance through their work where all or much of the costs are borne by their employers – which was also the case with congress before an anti-Obamacare stunt on the part of GOP Senator Chuck Grassley backfired, forcing congressional employees onto the exchanges which had only been intended for folks who had to purchase their insurance on the open market without benefit of an employer group’s buying power.
But the big deal is that these particular members of congress were unwilling to give up the talking point about unfair treatment for government workers and were pretty vocal that the subsidy should not be restored; both voted in September to strip the employer contribution for members of congress and their staffs. As TPM puts it, these folks now have the chance to “practice what they preach” – and some Republican members of the House have had the integrity to do just that. Or like Missouri’s Rep. Ann Wagner (R-2), they either have coverage through a another source, or sufficient private means to buy their own insurance, and so can afford to spurn their employment-based insurance and avoid the issue of “do as I say, not as I do” altogether.
But not Long and Luetkemeyer, even though they were specifically called out on the issue during the disastrous GOP “defund-obamacare” government shutdown by the new Chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party, Roy Temple, who called upon members of Missouri’s GOP House delegation to “put your money where your mouth is”:
On the seventh day of a Republican government shutdown, due to the US House majority demanding a dismantling of the Affordable Care Act before they fund basic services, Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Roy Temple issued a challenge to Representatives Ann Wagner, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Vicky Hartzler, Sam Graves, Billy Long, and Jason Smith: that they voluntarily forfeit their employer contributions to their health care plans – contributions they have lately labeled “special treatment.”
Long even felt entitled to crudely grill HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius – who is not subject to the congressional mandate to buy insurance from the exchanges – about why she is not giving up her federally supplied insurance and buying from the exchanges. As for Luetkemeyer, he actually voted to suspend all subsidies under the pretense that they are liable to fraud, a consideration that apparently doesn’t bother him when he’s the recipient.
Say what you will about hypocrisy, perhaps Long’s and Luetkemeyer’s actions simply demonstrate what everybody else has known all along. The entire brouhaha about “special treatment” for congress was simply an effort by the GOP to keep stirring up trouble and generating false anti-Obamacare scandals. Don’t you think that these folks are maybe going to cry “wolf” just once too often? Like any day now?